Monday, June 1, 2020
A Pandemic Graduation
Janice Moulton also plays violin in the Wood River Orchestra.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020


School parapro Janice Moulton put two children through college before returning to college for a degree in education.

But just as she was preparing for her children and husband Mark to watch her receive her diploma Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston cancelled graduation because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Her mentor teacher Mary Gin Barron, however, wasn’t about to let her graduate after all these years without a little bit of pomp and circumstance. So, she arranged a pandemic graduation—a car/bike parade through the Wood River Middle School parking lot—Monday afternoon.

Janice Moulton’s husband Mark captures the action as a friend greets his wife.

A couple dozen cars and twice as many bicycles decorated with pom poms, streamers and signs like “An Apple for the Teacher” cruised through the parking lot honking as “Pomp and Circumstance” blared from a boom box.

“Janice is the epitome of a lifelong learner,” said Barron. “She’s graduated! She has her teaching degree!”

Teachers, students and friends bestowed Moulton with flowers and other small gifts. Two celebrants walked by in makeshift graduation gowns, holding their mortarboards on their heads to keep them from blowing off in the afternoon breeze.

Moulton has been a parapro in the Blaine County Schools for 20 years starting with Hailey Elementary. She worked this past year at Wood River Middle School.

Youngsters who didn’t have car horns rang cowbells and blew other types of horns to add to the merriment.

When the schools switched to distance learning in the face of COVID-19, she was able to offer some tips as she’d taken her coursework online augmented by a couple visits to the campus during summer.

“I’m hoping to be a teacher librarian,” said Moulton, who says she can’t pass up good historical fiction, such as “The War that Saved My Life,” about an English girl who escapes an abusive home life during World War II. “I love being in the library and reading. And I want to share my passion with the students.”

Janice Moulton’s friends and students would not have gotten to take part in her graduation celebration had it been held as planned in Lewiston.

Though the youngsters enjoyed the celebration, some said they would much rather have the real deal.

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