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MDE’s Top Dog Parade

Angie Frederickson
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  • Audrey Zatorski

    She is ready for summer! Audrey Zatorski donned Hawaiian leis to celebrate the end of the school year. 

  • Michelle Owens, Frank Lerma

    Armed with balloons, cookies and goodie bags, DARE officers Michelle Owens and Frank Lerma greeted the MDE fifth graders who they had worked with all school year. 

  • MaryAlan Reeves

    MaryAlan Reeves emerges from the sun roof, donning an inflatable pink flamingo, to receive her goodie bag from Officer Frank Lerma. 

  • Keely Krhovjak, Anna Jones, Veronica Gompers, Shannon Hash,

    MDE moms Keely Krhovjak, Anna Jones, Veronica Gompers and Shannon Hash enjoy the parade to celebrate their fifth grade top dogs. 

  • Westly Howard

    Westly Howard is on top to cruise the parade route in a car covered with orange balloons.

  • Parker Welty

    Camouflage, targets and inflatable deer created a hunting-themed parade car for fifth grader Parker Welty.

  • Pierce Aspinall, Preston Welty, Tanner Darda, Henrik Lauritsen, Pate Lee, Tanner Watkins, Liam Sharpe, Hudson Reeves,

    Pierce Aspinall (left) joins former MDE graduates Preston Welty, Tanner Darda, Henrik Lauritsen, Pate Lee, Tanner Watkins, Liam Sharpe, and Hudson Reeves to watch the festivities. 

  • Ava Pannagl

    Fan favorite Ava Pannagl, with her dog on board, was driven in a luau-themed buggy, complete with an inflatable palm tree. 

  • Cars lined up

    Lined up and ready to go! The MDE parade began in the Chapelwood parking lot and ended up at school where well-wishers were waiting. 

  • Audrey Zatorski
  • Michelle Owens, Frank Lerma
  • MaryAlan Reeves
  • Keely Krhovjak, Anna Jones, Veronica Gompers, Shannon Hash,
  • Westly Howard
  • Parker Welty
  • Pierce Aspinall, Preston Welty, Tanner Darda, Henrik Lauritsen, Pate Lee, Tanner Watkins, Liam Sharpe, Hudson Reeves,
  • Ava Pannagl
  • Cars lined up

Like most things these days, the annual Memorial Drive Elementary fifth grade car parade looked a little different this year. The parade has been around for years as a special tradition to send the top dogs (aka fifth graders) off to their graduation party at The Forest Club. 

In years past, the fifth graders gathered to decorate cars for the last day of school and then would break into groups, pile into their assigned cars, and head for the Forest Club. This year, each family decorated their own car at home, and met in the parking lot at Chapelwood United Methodist Church to line up for the parade.

With an escort from Memorial Villages police and fire departments, the decorated cars drove down Greenbay Street to Piney Point Road, then to Smithdale Road where they drove through the MDE school bus drive. Teachers, staff, family, friends, and the beloved DARE officers were waiting at school to greet the parade. 

MDE

MDE’s top dogs finished the school year in style, with a graduation car parade. 

Sixth grader Preston Welty, with a group of former MDE students, cheered on his brother, Parker, as he paraded by in a camouflage-themed car. The Welty brothers, Preston, Parker and Paxton, worked together to decorate the car in honor of Parker’s favorite activity, hunting. “He found some deer floats on Amazon that were a nice touch, and they are now in our pool for the summer,” said mom Amy Welty. “Parker loved that he was able to see all his friends and celebrate all together, and see his teachers in person since he never was able to give them a true goodbye before spring break.”

Cruising in a car decorated with an inflatable shark and inflatable popsicles, graduate MaryAlan Reeves had looked forward to the rite of passage for years. Her older siblings participated in their own MDE graduation parades, and she was glad to have her turn. As the cars drove through the MDE parking lot, MaryAlan and her fellow classmates received cookies and goodie bags from DARE officers Michelle Owens and Frank Lerma.

The event was a success, thanks to planning by moms Amy Welty, Christie Vlahakos and Lauren Eagle. “The police were amazing about blocking off streets and diverting traffic. They were more than willing to work with us and made it super special and safe for the kids,” said Amy. “The whole community made it special for our MDE fifth graders.” 

Audrey Zatorski

She is ready for summer! Audrey Zatorski donned Hawaiian leis to celebrate the end of the school year. 

Michelle Owens, Frank Lerma

Armed with balloons, cookies and goodie bags, DARE officers Michelle Owens and Frank Lerma greeted the MDE fifth graders who they had worked with all school year. 

MaryAlan Reeves

MaryAlan Reeves emerges from the sun roof, donning an inflatable pink flamingo, to receive her goodie bag from Officer Frank Lerma. 

Keely Krhovjak, Anna Jones, Veronica Gompers, Shannon Hash,

MDE moms Keely Krhovjak, Anna Jones, Veronica Gompers and Shannon Hash enjoy the parade to celebrate their fifth grade top dogs. 

Westly Howard

Westly Howard is on top to cruise the parade route in a car covered with orange balloons.

Parker Welty

Camouflage, targets and inflatable deer created a hunting-themed parade car for fifth grader Parker Welty.

Pierce Aspinall, Preston Welty, Tanner Darda, Henrik Lauritsen, Pate Lee, Tanner Watkins, Liam Sharpe, Hudson Reeves,

Pierce Aspinall (left) joins former MDE graduates Preston Welty, Tanner Darda, Henrik Lauritsen, Pate Lee, Tanner Watkins, Liam Sharpe, and Hudson Reeves to watch the festivities. 

Ava Pannagl

Fan favorite Ava Pannagl, with her dog on board, was driven in a luau-themed buggy, complete with an inflatable palm tree. 

Cars lined up

Lined up and ready to go! The MDE parade began in the Chapelwood parking lot and ended up at school where well-wishers were waiting. 

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