Class of 2020: St. Patrick High School celebrates graduates with car parade

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Tuesday would have been the day Chicago's longest-running Catholic boys school graduated its 159th set of seniors.

The traditional graduation pomp and circumstance was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but St. Patrick High School parents, underclassmen and school officials decided to celebrate the graduating seniors with a car parade.

At St. Patrick High School the slogan is "taking you where you want to go."

On Tuesday, the car parade went all around northwest Chicago to surprise the Class of 2020 with gift and good wishes.

"Crazy man I just woke up," said Eric Wozny, a graduation senior bound for the University of Wisconsin. "Yeah really awesome... wish I was in school with all my brothers but this is one way to get it done, that's for sure."

Aidan O'Malley is joining the navy.

"Feels great and sad because we had a lot of things planned for 2020 and it kind of got ruined because of the pandemic, but it is all right, but just get through it," O'Malley said

The parents expressed sympathy for the dashed dreams.

"They have missed out on so much. I am going to cry... It has been super hard for them and for parents to watch them with so much being taken away but they have handled it in stride," said Jamie Kumiega, a mother.

There were over 144 stops in the parade to represent each member of the graduating class.

Normally students would be taking their diploma walking across that stage at Holy Name Cathedral, but the principal said something special has to be done for the Class of 2020.

"They are very resilient. They are great young men, so many great leaders in this Class of 2020 - just stay shamrock strong and take it a day at a time," said Principal Joe Schmidt.

The school has promised a formal graduation event, likely online, July 14.

They hope that there will be a return to normalcy in 2021 for it's 160th graduating class.
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