Next week, Montrose County School District students will have a chance to celebrate the 2020-2021 school cycle and the challenges they’ve overcome this past year.
MCSD’s Student Advisory Group will host the “Power of Hope” parade next Wednesday, set to begin at 1035 E. Main St., follow the usual loop before the turn at Rio Grande Avenue. The parade will start at 3 p.m.
The Student Advisory Group opted for the parade once local public health and safety restrictions loosened last month (Montrose County reached level “green” on the state’s COVID-19 risk dial, the lowest tier).
The parade will give a chance for local students to get involved with an extracurricular activity, but also is intended to push forward “hope and reconnection,” Student Advisory Group President and Montrose High School senior Lydia Stryker said, considering MHS’s last parade was in October 2019 — the homecoming parade.
It’s MCSD’s first district wide parade.
“Creating a sense of community overall I think is super important when there hasn’t been that,” said Stryker, referencing the limitations student’s have faced in the last year due to the pandemic. “There is still hope, and to celebrate that with the young people in our community would be super cool for everyone.
“It brings kids back to do something normal, and encourages everyone to keep looking forward and moving ahead.”
The hope is to have 20 to 40 floats for the parade, depending on how many school clubs want to participate (students at all MCSD schools are encouraged to join). Stryker hopes to have one float from each school.
Jaden Valdez, the Student Advisory Group’s vice president, spearheaded efforts to partner with the city and local police department to make the event possible, forming a community event so it can be safe for all involved. (Safety mitigation strategies are in place, and since MCSD is considering the event an extracurricular activity under guidelines set by the Colorado High School Activities Association, those on a float and participating in the parade will wear a mask.)
“It can be a fun event for everyone to remember what it was like pre-COVID,” Stryker said.
The advisory group had been planning for months what a culminating, end of year activity could be for the students before loosening restrictions helped them pull the trigger on the parade. Students haven’t been able to participate in any parades this year, not to mention extra curricular activities (sports has been ongoing since last fall, though with condensed schedules and some different guidelines). Dances and typical school events have largely been shelved in the past year during the pandemic.
“The Power of Hope parade has been almost entirely student driven, and it’s a real testament to the character of our students and student body, and is a good example of how they can use their leadership skills and teamwork and spirit,” said Matt Jenkins, MCSD’s public information officer who’s lending a hand and supporting the students in the effort.
“This group of students is working hard to overcome a challenging year, and for them to remind us that there is hope and things will get back to normal, it’s a celebration for our students, staff and the entire community.”
There will be early dismissal from all local schools next Wednesday so students at all grade levels can participate in the parade. Elementary students will be released at 2:10 p.m., with high school students dismissed at 2:30 p.m.
Montrose High School students will cap the year with prom on May 22, and graduation the day after. Before then, all MHS students will get a chance to go to the Spring Fling dance this Saturday.
School clubs interested in participating in the parade next Wednesday can reach Jenkins at 970-252-7901.
Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press