Parades and Pandemics



In these unprecedented times, we cling to semblances of normalcy. Ever since Governor Phil Murphy instituted the mandatory statewide lockdown and social distancing guidelines back in mid-March, life in New Jersey has never been the same. No more school. No more social gatherings. No more in-person interaction. Such restrictions exposed the need for connection and empathy during these difficult times. The mundane activities that we took for granted are now what we miss most in midst of this global pandemic. 

However, Rebecca Abbatemarco ’20 decided to use this current situation as an opportunity to not only unite the school community, but also brighten the day of EHS principal, Charles Ross. On May 5th, a parade of cars, trucks, and fire engines drove by the front entrance of Edison High School to celebrate Mr. Ross’ birthday. Rebecca and her mother, along with other students and staff, brought the moment to life. Car after car, the smiles grew wider, the cheers grew stronger, the car horns grew louder.
Mr. Ross at his birthday parade.
Video Credit: Sandy Schlatter

Even though our school community has been apart, this birthday parade brought us together. As each student and teacher passed by Mr. Ross, spirits brightened. This celebration represents more than just our appreciation for Mr. Ross; it represents our urge for unity. We cherish this togetherness. Because, for the first time in months, EHS has never been so alive. The birthday presents and posters from adoring students waving out their car windows remind us of better days. Days when we would party and hug and high five seem like distant memories.

Yet, positivity stops for no pandemic. Therefore, a birthday parade served as the best and safest option to celebrate. When asked about her experiences at the event, Class President Stacey Zhang ’20 spoke about the impact of Mr. Ross on her time at Edison High School.

“He has been such an influential person for us [the senior class] within the last four years and we couldn’t let that end because of quarantine,” she says. Being such an active and engaged principal, Mr. Ross’ birthday parade drew in many students and staff to show their love and support. “They [the staff] go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and happy no matter what type of circumstance we are in,” confesses Stacey. Even during the pandemic, our unabated Eagle pride continues to shine through and brighten even the darkest times.   

Mr. Ross at his birthday parade. Photo Credit: EHS Film Crew

English teacher Mr. McCaffery joined in on the celebration for Mr. Ross. He addressed the importance of staying connected by saying, “Seeing people and celebrating people in real life, even from a distance, keeps up that community, those relationships, and keeps us human”. It is in moments like these where we recognize the value of togetherness. Mr. Ross’ birthday parade gave everyone the opportunity to interact and connect with each other.

“We will get through this together, apart,” McCaffery notes.