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Unconventional celebration: Jewel City honors senior class of 2020

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HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — We all know that the class of 2020 has missed out on a lot this year—from those final months of senior year to graduation—but there was some “good news” for the seniors of the Jewel City today.

It was a celebration for the seniors of all the high schools within the city limits; a chance for them to commemorate their year with the community.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams says it was a way for the city to give it’s high school graduates back what had been taken from them.

“We’re hoping to be able to give them one last memory that they can cherish that nobody else has had,” Williams said.

The idea for this parade is unique. It was actually the idea of local senior Jeremiah Maddox, who thought his class needed something to remember.

“I kinda saw all the other cities around us organizing stuff for their seniors, and I said, you know what? I feel like if Huntington did something for us, not only would the Huntington High School seniors appreciate it, their parents would appreciate it you know? And it just looks really good on the city to know that they care about their students.”

Jeremiah Maddox, local senior

While this cruise around Huntington isn’t exactly the graduation they had planned, families are saying they’re excited to be able to celebrate in a different way.

“This is just a great opportunity and a way to honor all of our seniors and show how much we appreciate them, even though we’ve had this pandemic and their senior year has been kind of put on hold,” Kelli Aluise, mother of one of the graduates, said.

The seniors themselves were grateful for this last ride with their classmates.

“All of us need to stick together right now, all of these seniors are going through the same feelings and emotions and it’s good we can do stuff together to help improve that,” Tiara Williams, a 2020 graduate, said.

Another graduate, Jennifer Fetty, feels this parade is appropriate for her graduating class.

“We kinda had our senior year taken from us a little bit, so this is kind of just giving us something back since we missed out on so much,” Fetty said.

Maddox is calling this event a success.

“You know, I couldn’t be more happier.  To see all the support we got from the community members, to see everybody showing up, I’m really happy and tickled to death that we got this many people showing up,” Maddox said.

Click here to watch WOWK 13 News special report: ‘My Lost Moment: The Class of 2020’

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