For the final Friday Night Lights, scheduled two days before California High School's original graduation date, the Class of 2020 paraded through town as the community gathered in red and blue to show their Pinto Pride for the class.
A group of senior parents got together, looking for a way to help make CHS graduates' senior year a little more memorable in a positive way, and came away with the idea to host the parade.
"With the Friday Night Lights, when they started those back in the middle of April, there was talk about taking a drive through town and parading around," Julie Berendzen, one of the parent organizers, said. "Some of the students have been doing that every Friday night, but we thought maybe something a little more organized (would be good) where everyone had an opportunity to prepare for it, per se, instead of a last-minute thing."
After parading through town from the Moniteau County Fairgrounds, the class made its way back to the high school where they drove past a tree planted in their honor by Project Graduation. Then, circling back to Riley Field, they were able to go on the field one last time before graduation takes place at the end of the month.
As students and family members made their way into the stadium, the students' pictures scrolled across the scoreboard and the lights came on for the last night.
CHS senior Clayton Winkler said the night was a special one for his class.
"The parade was great," Winkler said. "I got to hang my senior poster on the side of my friend Spencer's car, and he did the same on his side. And as we went through town, people waved and congratulated us all the way to the high school. But the best part was going into the high school parking lot and all the fire trucks were there blaring their sirens. I felt so happy. I really appreciated everyone's hard work toward making up for our senior year."
Several hugs were given and pictures taken, and as the class exited the stadium, they were surprised with a firework show to commemorate their senior year.