Parades have always been popular at Prairie. During the pandemic, however, they became a downright necessity.

By Brendan O'Brien | 12 Days of Giving, all school

No one in the world loves hugs more than a Primary School teacher. This is a scientific fact. And so when Prairie was forced to conclude the 2019-20 school year while still learning from home, this presented quite a dilemma.

How in the world were Prairie’s Primary School teachers going to show their love and affection to all those children?

Enter a time-honored Prairie tradition: the parade.

Combine the creative thinking of the Primary School Division Office, along with logistical help from the Facilities Department, Johnson Bank, and the Wind Point Police Department – thanks for the campus escort Officer Bob! – and what you get is an unforgettable and socially-distanced sendoff into summer. After a June thunderstorm literally rained on our parade, the clouds broke, the humidity arrived, and PF students and parents rolled down their windows to wave and holler at their teachers who were lined all along the campus sidewalk.

Like 2020 in general, it was a winding and emotional affair.

From Senior Sendoff to the cross-campus walk of varsity athletic teams headed to the State Tournament to the Primary School Hallway Trick or Treat (a longtime favorite of Mrs. Johnson), Prairie has a long love affair with the parade. This year was no different; in fact, given the way we were required to live in 2020 – six feet apart – this year afforded an opportunity to double and triple down on the Prairie parade.

Similar to the Primary School, the Class of 2020 collected their caps, gowns and yearbooks in a sendoff-style parade, their Upper School teachers lining the sidewalk with congratulatory signs as music blared. This fall, a family Pumpkin Walk took the place of our annual Fall Fest activities. Even in late December, in place of the traditional 12 Days festivities that typically mark the close of the fall semester, Santa visited the Primary School parade-style to spread a little cheer before campus shut down for the year.

While we’re hopeful 2021 will resemble the years of Prairie past when it comes to gathering together, one thing is certain: even when we’re finally able to return to normal, the Prairie parade will remain a staple of school celebrations.


During this year’s 12 Days of Giving, we are introducing you to a few more People of Prairie, and sharing some of the relationships that help define our community. You can support this year’s 12 Days of Giving campaign and help grow inspiration and creativity all across campus with a gift to the Prairie Fund.