Frequently Asked Questions

Parade of Graduates: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Parade of Graduates?
Who is eligible to participate in Parade of Graduates?
Why is the experience equally important to seniors and elementary students? What does the morning schedule look like? Can my senior drive to or from their assigned elementary school? Can parents attend the Parade of Graduates? If I didn’t attend a current Lakota elementary school, where do I go? If I attended Heritage or Hopewell for elementary school, where do I go? What forms are required for my participation? I’m 18. Can I sign my permission slip myself? What should I wear?
What should my sign look like? Where should I share my photos from the day? Who should I contact with additional questions?

What is the Parade of Graduates?


To celebrate the achievements of our graduating seniors, every May, graduates from both Lakota East and Lakota West high schools are invited to parade through the hallways of one of Lakota’s elementary schools, also including Hopewell and Heritage early childhood schools. Dressed in their caps and gowns and displaying signs that indicate their post-graduation plans, some seniors revisit the elementary school they once attended. Staff, students, parents and community members line the halls to cheer on the seniors as they pass. As a parting souvenir, each senior also receives hand-written letters of advice and encouragement from the elementary students they’ve visited.  


Who is eligible to participate in Parade of Graduates?


All seniors who are graduating from a Lakota high school during the 2018-2019 school year are eligible to participate. Seniors who may have attended Lakota at one time but are graduating from other high schools, including private schools inside or outside Lakota’s boundaries, are NOT eligible to participate.


In addition to the staff and students residing in the host elementary school, parents of graduates and the community, at large, are welcome to line the hallways and help cheer on our graduates.


Why is the experience equally important to seniors and elementary students?


For seniors, the tradition is a ceremony of closure on their time at Lakota and especially reminiscent when it involves returning to their elementary school and reconnecting with old teachers and staff. It gives our graduates an uplifting way to celebrate reaching such an important milestone in their lives. They can see in the younger students’ expressions just how admirable and inspiring they are to them.


For our elementary students, representation matters. The Parade of Graduates gives every child the opportunity to see a person who looks “just like me” in a graduation gown, achieving such a major milestone and being celebrated for that success. Lakota’s intent is for our youngest learners to see the graduates and think, “I want that. I will work to achieve that, too.” The signs carried by each graduate give our elementary students a realistic glimpse at what opportunities could await them, too.


What does the morning schedule look like?


Students are asked to report to their high school at a predesignated time. Following a brief meeting, seniors will be divided by elementary school before boarding their respective buses. At the conclusion of the parade, seniors will receive their letters and have a few minutes to read them and reconnect with past staff who may be present. Participating students are required to ride a Lakota bus to and from their elementary school with their fellow graduates. Upon returning to school, seniors will have the opportunity to participate in other senior events happening that day.


Can my senior drive to or from their assigned elementary school?


No. Due to safety, security and scheduling, seniors are NOT permitted to drive themselves to their assigned elementary schools, nor leave in any manner other than the bus they arrived on. Seniors who arrive at elementary schools in individual cars will not be permitted to participate.


Can parents attend the Parade of Graduates?


Yes. Parents are highly encouraged to attend!


If I didn’t attend a current Lakota elementary school, where do I go?


Depending on the school from which you will be graduating, you will have your choice of just those elementary schools that feed into East or West, respectively. Consider asking your friends where they will be going and choose the same school or simply volunteer to be placed at an elementary school where fewer seniors have signed up to parade.


Heritage and Hopewell elementary schools are now early childhood schools. If I attended either of these schools, where do I go?


As long as graduating seniors are interested in returning to Heritage or Hopewell, Parade of Graduates will be hosted at these locations, in addition to the eight elementary schools. Especially in light of recent reconfigurations of schools and grade band levels, staff may have moved to different locations throughout the district. Check out Lakota’s staff directory to find out where your favorite elementary teachers and staff members are now located and select that school.

What forms are required for my participation?


A completed and signed permission slip, including the provided emergency medical form, is required for participation in the parade.


I’m 18. Can I sign my permission slip myself?

No. All permission slips require a parent or guardian signature.


What should I wear?


Please plan to report to your school wearing pants, a shirt, and comfortable shoes. (Due to the amount of walking, please leave the flip flops and heels at home.) Bring your cap and gown, but don’t put them on until you board the bus and are instructed to do so. Leave your tassel at home - it is too likely to get lost!


What should my sign look like?


Every graduate is asked to parade with a sign that displays their post-graduation plans. Your sign should be big enough that someone standing about six feet away can easily read it. A few recommendations:

  • Use paper that is at least 11x14 inches.

  • Place your first name should be front and center.

  • Include a phrase to convey your post-graduation plans - college name and major, career choice or place of employment, military placement, or “Not sure yet!” All are completely acceptable.

This component is very important to the elementary children cheering on our graduates. The idea is to open their eyes to the huge variety of opportunities within their reach. You might even consider including a phrase that identifies something you’re proud of accomplishing, like: “First person in my family to go to college!” Feel free to decorate the sign with a picture from elementary school or with symbols of things that are important to you, keeping it elementary school appropriate.


Where should I share my photos from the day?


It is very important that we capture the action at all eight elementary schools. We encourage you to share your photos from any one of the parades via social media, tagging #LakotaPOG2019 via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Who should I contact with additional questions?