By Allan Jamail & Kimberly Martin
Jacinto City, TX. — Saturday, May 23, 2020 – For Jacinto City’s officials having a graduation parade just a couple of months ago wasn’t planned nor could it ever have been imagined, but since the COVID-19 virus struck nothing’s been a resemblance of normalcy.
Scientists have estimated the deadly virus entered the United States as early as November or December of 2019 but it didn’t hit home to schools across the nation until mid-March while many of the students were home for Spring Break. Schools and students lives were changed once it became known the highly contagious decease was being passed on human to human. Studies revealed an infected person even without virus symptoms were spreading the germs as easy as talking to one another by “voice-droplets” transmitted in the air. Schools, churches, sporting events brought a halt to large gatherings as it still is today.
The long awaited graduation ceremonies planned for years by high school and college students were no longer allowed. Graduates wouldn’t be able to walk across a stage to receive their diploma or say goodbye to their classmates after years of friendship.
The Galena Park School District’s graduates, parents and family members were saddened as all others schools were by the sudden turn of events. Soon people began devising ways to safely celebrate milestones from birthdays to funerals by keeping a safe distance of 6 feet apart and wearing a mask. Parades called “wave by’s and drive by’s” became prevalent across the nation giving communities ways to help students celebrate.
Jacinto City’s Mayor Ana Diaz said she was contacted by graduate Ana Banda’s mother, Luisa Banda Perez about the possibility of having a parade so the students and families could celebrate. The City Council approved the parade, City Manager Lon Squyres began planning the event which had never been done before, and Chief of Police Joe Ayala’s police department had to provide traffic control and was assisted by a large turnout of Precinct 2 deputies along with Constable Chris Diaz (Mayor Diaz’s husband). Graduates of Furr High School joined in with the Galena Park 2020 Class. Mayor Diaz said, “The parade was the idea from Luisa and her hard work and organizing the students to come participate that made the event the success it was.”
Mayor Diaz said, “I was saddened for the students and families to not have the normal graduation ceremony and I felt the city should do everything it could to give them the best parade possible. It made me feel good to be able to stand on the parade sideline with members of the city council and wave and shout congratulations as each graduate came past the city’s congratulatory banner. Our city has a big heart; it’s always given a helping hand to a good cause.”