By Anuoluwapo A. Adefiwitan

Hyattsville pulled out all the stops to celebrate the city’s graduates today amidst the ongoing pandemic.

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From left to right: Miguel, Juan and Vanesa Parada pose after being cheered by the Hyattsville graduation caravan. Photo credit: Anuoluwapo A. Adefiwitan

Mayor Candace Hollingworth, along with city staff, councilmembers and members of the Hyattsville City Police Department (HCPD) formed a caravan that meandered through the city to congratulate graduates, from kindergarten through college.


Families and neighbors cheered from their front lawns and porches throughout the city as the caravan passed by with honking horns and flashing lights.


Laura Reams, director of Communications and Legislative Services “spearheaded the event” according to HCPD Chief Amal Awad. 


“It’s been a really fun event to plan,” said Reams. “We wanted to make sure that our graduates got the recognition that they really deserve, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic.”


CMIT Academy North High School graduate Camille Fabiyi felt bittersweet about graduating during the time of the novel coronavirus. Fabiyi said that she had been looking forward to walking across the stage after all of her hard work over the last four years. 


“We have to take everything in stride. Our accomplishment is still there,” she said. Fabiyi will attend the University of Maryland, College Park in the fall.


Awad said that the graduates’ ability to adjust and be flexible inspired city staff to create the caravan event. 

City of Hyattsville graduation caravan
City of Hyattsville graduation caravan

“We were just trying to think of a creative way to show them how much we appreciate them for all of their hard work and how excited we are for them,” she explained.


Juan Parada, a graduating eighth-grader said, “I’m grateful that you all made a ceremony for us.”


Hollingsworth shared a few words to encourage this year’s graduates, saying,

“Pursue your passion and what’s important to you. Don’t try to meet others’ expectations of you because the sooner [you pursue your passions], the better off the world will be,” she said.