WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — The class of 2013 was upset when they heard the annual car parade to start the year at Westborough High School was going to be changed to a foot parade. They quickly got over it.
At 7 a.m. Wednesday, seniors began congregating at the upper parking lot of the high school, clad from head to toe in tye-dye, sporting banners, bullhorns, vuvuzelas, a blow-up monkey and clearly ready to start the school year.
"There was a lot of opposition to having it move to a foot parade, but it was really kind of an amazing moment when a few guys said 'hey, this is still going to be awesome, this is still going to happen.' That just turned the tide," said senior Mark Aronson, who was one of the leaders in organizing and leading the crowd.
The seniors were led past the football field and down Ruggles Street to St. Luke's Church, where they would regroup and make the final march to the front entrance of the high school
Roads were blocked off by police, and a motorcycle escort led them safely down Westborough's streets. Students were also herded along by school liason Chip Dapolite, who said the police department made the decision to change the format of parade due to safety concerns.
"The chief [Alan Gordon] made the decision. It was one of those things, it's been a tradition for a while but ... it was something we kept looking at every year. This was the year we decided a change had to made," Dapolite said. "They came up with something different, something we could live with and it's going to be a fun first day."
Car accidents and students hanging out of or riding on top of cars were some of the safety concerns the police department looked at when making the decision.
Assistant Principal Brian Callahan said students were upset at first, but they seemed to embrace the new format quickly.
"It may be even more enjoyable for them in some sense," Callahan said. "It's going to be a little slower. They can walk together as a class, so I'm encouraged by this new wrinkle."
Following the completion of the parade, the senior class gathered on Joseph R. Mewhiney field in the shape of a 13 to take the senior class photo before heading inside for a breakfast and classes starting at 9:30 a.m.
"Everyone rallied together behind this, everyone loved being up in the parking lot together and I think everyone had a good time," Aronson said. "I think it's going to be a great year."