Leah Seals was the person of interest for those who took part in her drive-by graduation. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW/Enterprises)

by Iesha Wood —

I’m introducing my daughter, Leah Seals, a graduating senior representing Ridgeway High School’s class of 2020. Leah is the oldest of her siblings. She participated in FLBA, is a member of the National Honor Society, Choir and is also a proud member of GROW, which is an organization committed to helping girls become outstanding women.

Leah has maintained a 3.7 GPA while working two part-time jobs. She has been accepted into several colleges, choosing to attend Tennessee State University (TSU,) where she will study to become a Registered Nurse.

Leah Seals, with graduation flowers in hand, with her mother, Iesha Wood, and James Wood.
(Photos: Gary S. Whitlow/ GSW Enterprises)

I always told my children that high school should be one of the most memorable periods of your life. Senior year is usually the peak of a student’s high school career. Due to COVID-19, students now are faced with missing out on milestone experiences, including senior prom and other senior activities.

I wish that I could say for sure right now that the seniors will have the opportunity to walk across the stage at commencement ceremonies, but those dates are tentative as well. This really makes me sad as a parent. I want to “fix” any situation that may come about in her life. Unfortunately, this is one situation that I have absolutely no control over.

So, I tried to make light of the situation at hand and still provide my child with some sort of normalcy. That is how I came up with a small solution of inviting family and friends to participate in a drive-by graduation parade. This was done in an attempt to follow social-distancing guidelines provided by the CDC and still congratulate my daughter.

I planned a surprise drive-by parade with all of our family and friends there to celebrate with her. I also surprised her with a car as a graduation present from us. It was a small gesture to show her all of the love, support and pride that we as a family have for her.

Leah Seals’ graduation presents included a surprise parade and a car.(Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises)

And, I must say that she was very surprised, excited and encouraged to keep going! It was a grand occasion for a grand accomplishment.