Sirens bellowed throughout Gering on Tuesday, May 12, as Gering High School students celebrated an old tradition in a new way.
“The elementary walk is a tradition at GPS,” Jennifer Sibal, community engagement director for the GPS Foundation, said.
Tuesday was the final day of school for seniors at GHS. Traditionally, the walk offers seniors a chance to go back and visit the halls they began their educational career in. Like many milestones for 2020 graduates, COVID-19 meant adapting the celebration.
Rather than walking the halls of their elementary schools, seniors took to the streets of Gering.
“This Class of 2020 Senior Cruise was a unique way that we could still honor the tradition, but also responsibly social distance at the same time,” Sibal said. “This is a fun way to celebrate this milestone with them to provide a little closure to their K-12 educational chapter.”
Three cruises took place in the neighborhoods surrounding Lincoln, Northfield and Geil Elementaries. The cruises were led by members of the Gering Police and Fire Departments. Students and family members followed in cars behind them, many adorned with signs, balloons and window chalk.
Along the way, they saw banners created by Gering Merchants celebrating them and community members cheering.
“It really speaks to this wonderfully supportive Gering community,” Sibal said.
Beyond the seniors, it is an event staff members and younger students look forward to, said superintendent Bob Hastings.
“Graduation is a milestone that commemorates the hard work and achievement of our seniors,” he said. “The current elementary students and their teachers love and are inspired by the graduates who grew up in the same elementary buildings they attend. The graduation walk, now the Senior Cruise, is an important event for both groups.”