JEFFERSON — Jefferson Area High School graduates received a rousing farewell on Saturday evening as area residents lined the streets to celebrate the seniors' graduation during a parade around the village.
The graduates gathered at the high school around 5 p.m. and were given instructions and their transcripts before riding through the village, where several hundred people greeted them with cheers and signs.
The graduates' car horns were also active, creating a cacophony of sound throughout the village.
JAHS Principal Jeremy Huber said it has been difficult to find a way to celebrate the students' achievements while social distancing and adhering to requirements from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ashtabula County Health Department.
Huber said the event was important because of the finality of graduation without a communal experience to end 13 years of schooling.
"Tonight is the last time they will be together. It worked out really, really nice," he said.
The students and their families were allowed to decorate their vehicles with photos and other items to illustrate each graduate's unique personality.
"People got creative with their vehicles," Huber said.
The students seemed very appreciative of the school and the community.
"I'm excited. I think it is really nice for the school to do something in this terrible time," said Elle Vence, as she danced through the sunroof of the vehicle.
"It's definitely not what I expected my graduation to be but it is a whole lot more fun than I thought it was going to be," said Ethan Weber, while waiting for the parade to move along West Walnut Street.
Graduation ceremonies will be held on Friday and Saturday at the school, Huber said.