Dirigo Elementary School fifth-grade graduate Riley Jordan celebrates her graduation as her family drives alongside at the school on Thursday. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

PERU — Fifth-grade graduates at Dirigo Elementary School hopped out of their families’ vehicles to walk along the school sidewalk for their graduation ceremony on Thursday.

As their families drove alongside them, the 62 graduates stopped first to drop off their laptops with principal Charlie Swan, and then moved along to have their photos taken beside a “Congratulations Dirigo Elementary 5th graders” sign.

Students received bags from their teachers that contained any items they’d left behind when schools were closed unexpectedly in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The students also received a bag that held their graduation certificate with any other special awards they may have received.

Four fifth-grade graduates — Stetson Thurston, Mitchell Sayer, Elliott Richardson and Raeleigh Ricci — each won a bike from the Bikes for Books contest, with bikes donated to the school by the Masons of King Hiram Lodge 57 of Mexico. The organization donated 28 bikes to the school in total, delivering four bikes for each grade level during the last week of school at home, said Swan said.

Three fifth-graders — Sammie Seaerles, Salem Remington and Makala Worcester — received $100 college scholarship awards from local businesses and private sponsors for writing winning essays about what they’d like to study in college or what their aspirations are following high school.

Several fourth-graders also received $100 college scholarships for their winning essays during the last week of school: Zoey Bordeau, Layne Johnston, Liam Malchisky, Walker Flagg, Tyler Watson, Victoria Araujo and Queenie Doroton.

The last stop for the fifth-graders was to pick up a freeze pop treat and then hop back into their parents’ vehicles.

Dirigo Elementary School fifth-grade graduate Elizabeth Varnum poses for a photo with her teacher, Zach Thompson, during the school’s graduation ceremony on Thursday. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Dirigo Elementary School fifth-grade graduate Colby Averill celebrates his graduation on Thursday in front of the school. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

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