I have written many columns about why I think Rockaway is the best community ever. I feel we need this column more than ever as we see so much turmoil in our city and especially our town.
I am trying to stay positive in the pandemic and focus on the good in our community and hope that it outshines the negative. This past weekend two very important events happened for our local graduates.
One thing was something I hope becomes a tradition each year and it was a 100% Rockaway event. For those of you who do not know, one local Catholic school has a fabulous tradition that the eighth graders walk through the building on their last day and the students line the hallways and cheer for them and give high fives. Each year I see the video I become emotional and say, “What a nice tradition.”
My brother-in-law, who does not often feel bad for people, mentioned that he felt bad about the graduates not performing in this ritual, as he loved that his son was able to be a part of it. This year, I believe the graduates got a pretty good runner-up event. The parents organized a bike parade along Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Our very own Lynn Duffy was master of ceremonies and rode along the back of an elaborately decorated pick-up truck wearing a cap and gown, playing graduation music and chanting “SFDS.”
In true Rockaway fashion, the Boulevard was packed with excited spectators, many whom were donned in blue and gold and holding signs for the graduates. The grass mall was then decorated with all of the graduates’ graduation signs. The students rode their bicycles with caps and gowns (many were barefoot!) They then finished by cycling under a balloon arch and rode to the beach where they proudly threw their caps and gowns in the air and then went for a graduation dip! It also held true to another tradition that the seventh grade parents help. The seventh grade parents always assist with the dinner dance. Thank you to my friend who loves my driving and asked me to be her chauffeur. It was special.
The second event was a prom for local high school graduates. Many of my old “tutorees” attended and looked fabulous in gowns and suits. The family which hosted seemed to go all out with the decorations and it looked like a great time was had by all.
We live in such a great place that everyone got together to do something special for their children and make them feel a bit normal in this crazy world. Congratulations to all of our local graduates. Good luck in your next endeavor.
Also, good luck to all of the local businesses who opened this week. Please remember, if you head out be kind everyone is learning new rules and regulations. Be patient. And if you do not think you can, remember the hashtag #stayhome.
By Beth Hanning