The Hackley Community Reunites While Navigating Social Distancing

After being given the go-ahead by Building and Grounds Staff to start driving up Alumni Drive, cars filled with Hackley students and parents steadily drove up the hill as they neared the cheering, clapping, and music coming from the top.

Teachers and faculty, all wearing masks, appeared with smiling faces, greeting students with cheers, applause, and signs to honor the seniors. In difficult and uncertain times, the Hilltop parade brought the Hackley community back together to commemorate the end of the school year.

On Friday, June 5th, the administration welcomed students and faculty back to the campus for the first-ever Hilltop Parade.

As Upper School Director Andy King outlined in his email earlier in the week explaining the parade, faculty and staff lined up along Alumni Drive, seniors and their families parked in the lots near Pickert Field, and then, 9th, 10th and 11th graders and their families joined in an auto-parade through campus, to see their teachers and to honk and cheer for the Class of 2020.

After being accustomed to seeing each other through computer screens over Zoom, the parade was a great way to get the Hackley community back together, despite still having to social distance.

“It was a smart way to abide by the social distancing rules and be able to see teachers and friends,” rising junior Campbell Johnson said.

Spring is typically a very special time on campus, and students felt happy to be back on the Hilltop to see the campus, friends, and teachers.

“It was great to be back on campus,” rising senior Will Gannon said, “I felt a little weird at first, but when I started seeing teachers and the seniors I got really happy. The parade was well planned, ran smoothly, and was a terrific success.”

Rising senior and Upper School President Sebi Doctors thoroughly enjoyed the parade, but he said, “There wasn’t much time to actually have a conversation with teachers which was unfortunate because there were some I was really excited to see.”

“It was also nice to say hi to some of the seniors that won’t be with us next year and I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to say goodbye to otherwise,” he said.

The seniors parked in the Johnson Center lot, where cars drove through honking and cheering for them.

“In these times, I think the parade was the best way we could honor our senior class as well as teachers and other students,” rising senior Andrea Bernachia said.

Senior Julia Thompson enjoyed the parade, appreciating how students and faculty went out of their way to make the day feel special for them.

“The parade definitely exceeded my expectations. I didn’t realize how much I missed Hackley’s campus, the teachers, and my fellow seniors,” she said.

Despite questions of logistics and trying to keep everyone safe, Mr. Wirtz was very satisfied with how the parade went.

“The turnout was great from faculty and staff. Everyone wanted to be back on campus and finish the year together,” he said.

“Faculty and staff enjoyed it every bit as much as the students and their families. Relationships are key here, and the power of those – the overwhelming feeling of once again being together – carried the day,” he added.