BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – As the two city high schools navigate the coronavirus to plan events for graduating seniors, a citywide cruise has been born that may end up being an annual event.
Mayor Matt Mohrfeld, with the help of several area parents, volunteers and Shottenkirk Automotive Group, has launched a cruise that will start downtown, hit both high schools, the city’s senior living centers, and then finish downtown this Saturday starting at 1 p.m.
Mohfeld said there was a lot of discussion in April about doing something special for this year’s seniors who’ve been out of school since the governor ordered all state schools closed in March and canceled all school-related activities.
“I started getting feedback and people asking if we could do this or do that and we started looking at timelines and logistics,” Mohrfeld said.
“Anyway, we we’re talking about it, and I thought what about a graduation cruise. In talking with Abby Womack, somebody who wanted to do something, she thought it was a great idea. I think it’s pretty cool.”
Then the mayor got a call from Doug Owen, who’s the marketing director for Shottenkirk.
“He called and said Greg (Shottenkirk) would like to do something. So he got involved and helped, and right now it’s just something we’re gonna keep real simple.”
He said the concept is basically one senior, one vehicle.
“Whatever they want to drive. I don’t even care if it’s a side by side if their 18,” Mohrfeld said tongue in cheek.
As an incentive and to make the ride a bit more competitive Mohrfeld offered up a $500 scholarship to the vehicle showing the most creativity.
“We’ll judge it at Holy Trinity Catholic. It’s going to be on creativity. They can decorate the car, decorate themselves, and the theme will have a lot of latitude.”
He said the scholarship will be to the winner’s post secondary institution.
“We will cruise Avenue G down to 4th Street, go up to Avenue E, drive up to FMHS and along Bluff Road to HTC, along Bluff Road to Sunnybrook, down 48th Street and the highway to The Madison, The Kensington, and back downtown,” Womack wrote in a release Friday.
Mohrfeld said it was his intention to make it annual ride.
“That’s where I’m going with it. I think it’s a cool idea and it’s been really well received by the elderly living sites.”
There is no registration or sign up required and Mohrfeld said juniors who want to follow the cruise and have licenses can follow in behind the seniors if they want.
He’s also encouraging parents, the public and businesses to line the streets congratulating the seniors. The event is not in lieu of anything the school districts are doing.
“It’s just a Fort Madison ‘showin’ the love thing.”
Those looking for more information or to get involved can call Mohrfeld at 319-470-0937 or Womack at 470-7363.
Other events planned for Holy Trinity Catholic include the following:
- HTC Seniors’ Awards via Zoom, Tuesday, May 19th
- Graduation ceremony is rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 2nd at 2:00 p.m.
- Baccalaureate Mass is Sunday, Aug. 2 at 8:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s in West Point
At Fort Madison High School:
- A Bloodhound Senior Cruise throughout the city will be on Friday May 29, with seniors starting in the high school parking lot at 7:15 p.m. and finishing in the high school parking lot around 8:20 p.m., where lights will be turned on at the football, baseball and softball fields for 20 minutes in honor of the Class of 2020.
- Prom is rescheduled for June 13 pending allowance by state and federal officials.
- Graduation is rescheduled for June 27, pending allowance by the state.
- A virtual graduation video that will feature each senior walking across the stage, along with senior and administration speeches is set to take place the first week of June. Time schedules are listed on the district’s website.