Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead High School’s Class of 2021 celebrated with a parade at the high school last night.

Dozens of cars decked out in blue and white lined up on North Griffing Avenue for the parade, drove along the back of the building where they were greeted by cheering family members, teachers and staff.

The Riverhead Fire Department used two ladder trucks to create an arch from which firefighters displayed a giant American flag. RFD brought two engines to salute the grads with sirens and lights as they pulled into the high school parking lot.

Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps vehicles, sirens and lights flashing, were also on hand to greet the Class of 2021.

Shelly Walker, a fourth-grade teacher at Aquebogue Elementary School handed out Jolly Ranchers candies to the passing seniors and high school teacher Jill Tapper, gave them all Hershey’s chocolate kisses.

“My son was on the receiving end last year,” Walker said. “All my colleagues, all the kids came out and supported the graduates. I cried through the whole thing,” she said.

The drive-through tribute was initiated in 2020, in a year upended by the global coronavirus pandemic, after a video conference between a group of seniors and Riverhead High School Principal Sean O’Hara.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.