Senior Send-off Parade Success at Valley


Thor's Hammer Staff

Valley’s “Graduation Team,” led by Assistant Principal Jennifer Geissinger, Senior Class Advisers Vince Bognot and Tuan Pham, and Student Council Advisers Kristen Arsenault and Tara Hottendorf, pulled off a social-distancing celebration of Valley’s Class of 2020 through a parade with seniors, faculty, counselors, staff, and administrators circling Valley High School three times on Thursday, May 7, at 6:00 PM.

“This was initially planned as a symbolic parade for the seniors where only teachers would perimeter around the school with drones filming the event. Ultimately, the decision was made to include the seniors as long as social distancing guidelines were followed,” Bognot explained.

“It was my honor to help plan this parade with the Senior Advisors,” Geissinger said.  “What an incredible event full of Viking spirit!”

The seniors came out to celebrate with decorated cars and huge smiles.

“The students’ pride of being a Valley Viking really showed last night,” Bognot said.  “Even the knuckleheads were there cheering and sharing their smiles. It was an amazing event that again, only highlights that through hard times, we all can pull together and look forward to better times.”

Both current and retired administrators were on hand to give out yard signs for the graduates to post at their homes furnished by Valley, and Councilwoman Olivia Diaz and her City of Las Vegas Team were on hand to give roses to the seniors.   School Area Superintendent Region 2 Lorna Cervantes James and her Administrative Assistant Susan Uniate were also there to celebrate Valley’s seniors.  Hispanics in Politics President Fernando Romero supported the new graduates as well in the Valley parking lot.

“My heart was filled with joy to be able to share this ‘First-Ever Class of 2020 Senior Parade.’ We really miss our seniors and know they miss us, too,” Principal Ramona Esparza explained. “Having their families and Viking teachers, counselors, social workers, support staff, and administration there to celebrate them all for their accomplishments is such a special memory; I will always hold dear to my heart. Don’t Stop Believe ‘In Class of 2020…. You have already blazed New Traditions…!!”

Senior Jackeline Diaz participated in the parade.

“I absolutely LOVED every single moment!” Diaz exclaimed.  “I was feeling so low about not being able to see any of my teachers and friends, and going to this parade brought up my mood. This really showed how much staff truly cares about us. Once a Viking ALWAYS a Viking!!”

Assistant Principal Ramona Fricker helped to hand out the gifts to the seniors.

“It was inspiring to see our seniors and their entire families celebrating their milestone in this way!” Fricker said.  “The true spirit of what it means to be a Viking was seen by all staff and students who attended.”

Dean Tricia Keliinoi also helped hand out gifts to the seniors as they passed through a reception line in their cars.

“We are so proud of our Seniors, and we had fun celebrating them!” Keliinoi shared.  “This parade had such a positive energy, and we loved seeing all their smiling faces!”

“It was nice seeing everyone coming together to celebrate us,” Senior Jasmine Funches explained.

The true spirit of the Valley Vikings was illuminated in a time of stress and uncertainty.  While traditions may have had to change, the students were flexible and happy to get to the chance to see each other, even if social distancing was part of the plan.

Valley’s IB Coordinator, Andrew Magness said it best: “It made my heart full!”