News

Palo Alto schools to reprise car parade for graduating seniors

Citywide event celebrates students from Castilleja, Gunn, Paly

Teachers and staff cheer as a car full of Palo Alto high school graduates drives by Gunn High School in Palo Alto on June 3, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Four Palo Alto schools are giving their graduating seniors another chance to grab their caps and gowns and go on a ride around town. The Palo Alto Unified School District, Castilleja and Kehillah schools are bringing back a citywide car parade this Tuesday for the class of 2021.

The car parade will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Students are encouraged to decorate their cars and wear their caps and gowns. A map of the route shows the parade will run down many major streets, including Arastradero Road, Charleston Road, El Camino Real, Embarcadero Road and Middlefield Road.

The citywide parade will precede Gunn and Palo Alto high schools' in-person graduation ceremonies, which district officials announced earlier this year. The two ceremonies will be held at the graduating students' respective campuses this Wednesday. Castilleja's commencement ceremony, which will also be held in person, is set for Saturday.

Community members are encouraged to participate and bring signs, horns and noisemakers to cheer on the graduates.

Last year's car parade for graduating high school seniors was one of the few bright points in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The 2020 event brought parents, friends and faculty to sidewalks where they cheered, banged pots and pans and held uplifting signs of congratulations as graduating students shouted back from their cars, waving goodbye to their high school career and hello to their future.

We want to see your graduation parade photos!

If you're heading to the citywide car parade, share them with us on social media! Tag us on Twitter @paloaltoweekly or on Facebook and Instagram @paloaltoonline.

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Palo Alto schools to reprise car parade for graduating seniors

Citywide event celebrates students from Castilleja, Gunn, Paly

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, May 31, 2021, 8:45 am

Four Palo Alto schools are giving their graduating seniors another chance to grab their caps and gowns and go on a ride around town. The Palo Alto Unified School District, Castilleja and Kehillah schools are bringing back a citywide car parade this Tuesday for the class of 2021.

The car parade will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Students are encouraged to decorate their cars and wear their caps and gowns. A map of the route shows the parade will run down many major streets, including Arastradero Road, Charleston Road, El Camino Real, Embarcadero Road and Middlefield Road.

The citywide parade will precede Gunn and Palo Alto high schools' in-person graduation ceremonies, which district officials announced earlier this year. The two ceremonies will be held at the graduating students' respective campuses this Wednesday. Castilleja's commencement ceremony, which will also be held in person, is set for Saturday.

Community members are encouraged to participate and bring signs, horns and noisemakers to cheer on the graduates.

Last year's car parade for graduating high school seniors was one of the few bright points in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 event brought parents, friends and faculty to sidewalks where they cheered, banged pots and pans and held uplifting signs of congratulations as graduating students shouted back from their cars, waving goodbye to their high school career and hello to their future.

We want to see your graduation parade photos!

If you're heading to the citywide car parade, share them with us on social media! Tag us on Twitter @paloaltoweekly or on Facebook and Instagram @paloaltoonline.

Comments

Julian Gonzales
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on May 31, 2021 at 9:29 am
Julian Gonzales, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 9:29 am

EVERYONE and ANYONE with car and the time to do so should join in this celebration regardless of their graduation status.

Car parades are fun.


Tyler Harris
Registered user
another community
on May 31, 2021 at 10:19 am
Tyler Harris, another community
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 10:19 am

Is this going to be like Hot August Nights where people just cruise down the streets in their cars?

If so, I'm in.


Caitlin Morrow
Registered user
another community
on May 31, 2021 at 10:45 am
Caitlin Morrow, another community
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 10:45 am

Looking forward to a cruise through Palo Alto!

The announcement is already on some social media platforms and I imagine others will be joining in as well.

No need to wait until 5:30PM to get started...let's all plan to arrive a bit earlier.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2021 at 11:30 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 11:30 am

Not meaning to put a damper on this, but what about other traffic? This is commute time and slow moving cars just might be a distraction? There is a great deal more commute traffic this year than there was last year. I can see all the noise and slow moving cars impeding other people trying to get to work, or home, or wherever.

Have PAPD been informed and will they be diverting other traffic elsewhere?


CruiserAtLarge
Registered user
another community
on May 31, 2021 at 11:48 am
CruiserAtLarge, another community
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 11:48 am

Let's get started way earlier. There will most likely be about 150-200 graduates driving their cars directly from the campuses and if we can add another 400-500+ cars before the celebration and after, it will be a very festive occasion!

Yeah, let's let social media get the word out.

Party on Palo Alto!


Rhodoreae
Registered user
Ventura
on May 31, 2021 at 11:57 am
Rhodoreae, Ventura
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 11:57 am

Congratulations to the graduates, but...
I sure wish this was more climate friendly and a bike parade instead!


Guns Across America
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Guns Across America, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Just follow the flow of traffic and drive safely.

A thousand cars cruising through Palo Alto at parking lot speeds will be a sight to behold and probably make the local evening news.


Mama
Registered user
Crescent Park
on May 31, 2021 at 3:13 pm
Mama, Crescent Park
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 3:13 pm

Will they be obeying traffic rules, red lights, stop signs, etc? I hope so. Please let us know. I will be driving and would like to know if I’ll be safe.


Seriously?
Registered user
Mountain View
on May 31, 2021 at 4:06 pm
Seriously?, Mountain View
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 4:06 pm

Nothing says "congrats for graduating" like needlessly spewing carbon into the atmosphere.


Madison Petrovsky
Registered user
another community
on May 31, 2021 at 4:37 pm
Madison Petrovsky, another community
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 4:37 pm

For those of us who graduated earlier and have Class of 2021 friends, joining them in a cruiser parade through parts of Palo Alto will be a great way of congratulating them while blowing off some steam from last year's public health stay in place mandates.

Let's all get together and join them on the road along with other revelers from out of town.

Maybe we can cruise in a continuous loop and keep it going!

If we obey all of the traffic laws and watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians, there is no law against a perpetual car parade!


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 31, 2021 at 5:04 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 5:04 pm

The parade route runs from Embarcadero onto Middlefield South so be careful at that intersection which often looks like a 3d World Keystone Kops episode at rush hour there are more than 5 cars are backed up.

Maybe this parade will finally convince Palo Alto and the VTA that putting bus stops a mere 5 car lengths from major intersections like Embarcadero isn't the smartest or safest thing to do. Our traffic czars and city councils have ignored complaints from neighbors on Middlefield and Fulton etc. for way too long while they keep eliminating traffic lanes and turn lanes while planting bollards at every intersection to impede through and turning traffic.


yikes
Registered user
Midtown
on May 31, 2021 at 7:55 pm
yikes, Midtown
Registered user
on May 31, 2021 at 7:55 pm

Be a happy spectator on the sidewalk cheering on the graduates!
If you are not a currently graduating high school senior, please DO NOT JOIN the parade by car. Instead support the parade by whooping it up from the sidelines as the celebrants drive by.
More cars in the parade are not needed. More locals cheering for them are!


localmom46
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:11 pm
localmom46, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:11 pm

@yikes is correct! Seniors and their families should drive the parade, the rest of us should cheer from the sidewalks.


Cole Mansfield
Registered user
another community
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:19 pm
Cole Mansfield, another community
Registered user
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:19 pm

>> Seniors and their families should drive the parade, the rest of us should cheer from the sidewalks.

It's more fun to be in a car parade than an onlooker.

We're coming up from Los Banos to be a part of it!

My second cousin is graduating so I guess that qualifies us as family members.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:42 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:42 pm

If these cars are being driven by inexperienced teen drivers dressed in robes possibly illegally driving friends, with their focus on being cheered rather than on traffic, lights and road signs, I think it would be better to avoid these streets until afterwards for the sake of safety.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Jun 1, 2021 at 2:10 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Jun 1, 2021 at 2:10 pm

Congratulations to 2021! Let the kids have fun. Cheering on the sidelines is fun too! I did it at Paly and UCLA. Give the kids the benefit of the doubt that they'll be okay driving. Just have a good time!


Anon Anony
Registered user
another community
on Jun 1, 2021 at 2:39 pm
Anon Anony, another community
Registered user
on Jun 1, 2021 at 2:39 pm

[Post removed due to incorrect information.]


Carson Winslow
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Jun 1, 2021 at 3:20 pm
Carson Winslow, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jun 1, 2021 at 3:20 pm

Very cool. The traffic jam and horns honking will be a trip.

Drive slow and let's make the cavalcade of cars last FOREVER as teen cruisers from other areas will be joining in.

It's summertime and what better way to kick things off.

And we can continue driving in a circle!


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2021 at 8:52 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2021 at 8:52 am

Did this cause traffic problems? I hope not. I stayed well out of the way.

Well done to all the graduates for surviving this 15 months of turmoil. Here's to the next stage of life!


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