“Parade of Love” showcases Class of 2024 in Rossmoor

Courtesy photo Organizers estimate that as much as three-fourths of this year’s Class of 2024 participated in this year’s Rossmoor Senior Parade hosted by the Rossmoor Homeowner’s Association and the Community Services District.

A tradition that began in 2020 in reaction to the restricted days of the COVID pandemic saluted the first class to emerge that experienced the full measure of the paralyzing event.
Hundreds of seniors being towed by cars, military vehicles, trucks, and even boats made their way through Rossmoor Saturday morning as the community saluted the graduating class of 2024.

“Welcome to the Class of 2024,” said Organizer Jo Shade, who as a member of the Rossmoor Homeowners Association, worked to get the first parade organized when seniors during COVID were denied many of the traditional graduation ceremonies.

This year, Shade was able to salute her own daughter Jordan and she has since been elected to the board of the Rossmoor Community Services District.

Speaking atop a flatbed truck, Shade instructed the hundreds of cars to tune in to FM radio 87.8, a special frequency that allowed everyone lined up for the parde, even those out of earshot of the public address system, to hear the speakers.

The audience of vehicles oddly used their horns to honk the approval of speakers since some were lined up hundreds of feet away from the flatbed.

Standing next to a cadre of elected officials present to congratulate the seniors, Shade first presented an award from Supervisor Andrew Do’s office to Art Remnet, President of RHA. She also thanked the event’s growing list of sponsors and volunteers and instructed drivers not to exceed more than 5 -7 miles per hour.

Lt. Col. Dan Fox, the new commander of the Joint Forces Training Base, served as Grand Marshal of this year’s parade. He was accompanied by his wife Cassandra.

“Good morning,” said Fox, “my wife Cassandra and I wish to congratulate you on your graduation. We encourage you. on behalf of the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos,, to hold on to the values that have gotten you this far,” he said.

“You’re going to need them as you move up in the world,” said Col. Fox. Shade also presented Fox with a certificate from Do’s office.

“The sky’s the limit,” said Congresswoman Michelle Steel to the Los Al graduating class,” and I know all of you are going to be successful,” she said.

“You can do the impossible,” urged Senator Janet Nguyen, who said she has attended every single Senior Parade in Rossmoor. “Make sure you also thank your parents, because without them you would not be here today,” she said. “Have fun,” she added.

Courtesy photo

“This is a day you will remember for life,” Assembly member Tri Ta told the graduates, adding that “this community is here for you.” He also thanked the dedication of the teachers and parents.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something,” said Cypress Council member Frances Marquez. “If you have a goal, work hard and you will achieve it,” she said.

Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver called it a parade of love and metaphorically compared it to the community embrace.

He told the graduates they were fortunate. “I don’t know of another community like Rossmoor, Los Al, Cypress, and Seal Beach,” said Pulver.

Courtesy photo

“This is really a parade of love and I hope you can feel our entire community wrapping their arms around you because we are so proud of you,” the superintendent said. “We love you and it doesn’t end here. There’s going to be thousands of people over in the streets and we’re all here just to say we love you. Go Griffins Class of 2024.”

Los Al High School Principal Christiana Krauss said “we started this year with the theme and mission to extend what’s possible and Class of 2024, you have not disappointed in all aspects.”

Courtesy photo

“You extended even more than possible, with the care, the kindness and the compassion that this class has brought to each other,” the principal said.

“Everywhere you go, you leave it better,” she said. “We love you and I truly love you.”
Speaking to some of the students, it was evident that COVID had made a mark on some and that they had absorbed the senior mission this year. They spoke about the greatest challenges and traits of their 2024 class.

“The biggest challenge is that we had experiences like no other. I think we started with something that no one ever endured before (COVID) and we were still able to persevere while loving and caring for each other throughout the process, said senior Dillon Luvben.
“I think the best thing about the class of 2024 was how connected we were so meshed together in this new situation, but we learned to grow together and bonded, we are very loving and connected as a whole,” he said.

Courtesy photo

“Our biggest challenge is taking advice from the older generation. “I think a lot of people think they know more and don’t pay attention to the rules or advice, but I think that’s all young people, said senior Allie Perez.

“I think the best thing about the class of 2024 is that we’re persevering, we’re super kind and considerate and we’re ready to go off to college. We’re excited. “Four years of high school, we got through it and it was well worth it,” said Jake Dingillo.

Some had practical thoughts.

“I feel like time management is the greatest challenge to the class of 2024. I think that a lot of us do not know how to manage our time properly and we get ahead of ourselves,” said Brianna Bercian.

(L-R( Seal Beach Chief of Police Michael Henderson, Supt. Dr. Andrew Pulver, Cypress Council member Frances Marquez, Assembly member Tri Ta, Los Al Unified Board member Chris Forehan, RCSD Board member and organizer Jo Shade, Los Al Unified Board member Marlys Davidson, LAHS Principal Christiana Kraus, Joint Forces Training Base Commander Lt. Col. Dan Fox, Los Al Unified Board President Meg Cutuli, Congresswoman Michelle Steel, Rossmoor Homeowners Assn. President Art Remnet and State Sen. Janet Nguyen.
Courtesy photo

Graduate Owen Gooch said it would be a challenge for this year’s class for find their way in this world but that he felt the Class of 2024 could do it.

“I think personally that the biggest challenge is going to be finding our places in the world. We have a really special class with a lot of great people, and I think everyone here is going to be able to succeed in that,” he said.