Sophie, 17

There is something pretty incredible about my community. Personally, I have noticed that COVID has only highlighted how much support, comfort and love our Lake Highlands Neighborhood has. Here in Texas we are known for everything being “bigger and better.” No shock in the fact that this has proven to be true in recent times. The pandemic has closed our schools, communities, limited our contact to six feet, but it has not taken our hope or our spirit. 

Recently a drive-by parade was announced on Facebook to honor the graduates of 2020. This event was heartwarming. It epitomized transforming the sour lemons we had been dealt into sweet lemonade. I watched parents, friends, school staff, and neighbors all get their cars decorated with vibrant balloons, red and white streamers, huge posters all ready to surprise seniors for an outside celebratory graduation. 

This virus has taken the end of the best year of their high school careers, the time of true teenage freedom before the next chapter. It is bittersweet to see my senior friends not receive closure from school not ending, and the absence of a real graduation, at this time not all hope is lost. There are still ways that we honor them and this drive by parade did just that. It does not make up for what they have lost, but I know that what combats this is the spirit of the people in our community. The spirit and joy in celebration is still alive in the midst of loss. Even though this virus has stopped normal life, and times are different we are still able to connect in multiple ways to make the best out of having to stay in our cars with masks. 

It was almost surreal how the experience felt, the seniors all lined up in their cap and gowns waving as we yelled at the top of our lungs out of our windows with posters. Texas is the place to be in the midst of all this crazy, we still got it COVID and all. 

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