An Inner Southeast middle school marches to thank the merchants who support its programs

DAVID F. ASHTON - Before the parade, Sellwood Middle School students made thank you cards for local businesses which they displayed during the parade - here, they were marching through the Sellwood business district. For those who hadn't heard of the annual Sellwood Middle School (SMS) Spring Parade, seeing the kids march was a pleasant surprise on Tuesday morning, May 22.

One could hear the joyous procession from blocks away, as the SMS Marching Band played lively tunes that echoed down the streets, bringing out many onlookers.

With members of the Portland Police Bureau's Traffic Division Motorcycle Corps blocking streets along the way, the parade stepped off on schedule at 11 a.m. Again this year, all of the school's students and staff walked north through Sellwood along S.E. 13th Avenue, turning east onto S.E. Bybee Boulevard to continue through Westmoreland, before turning south and marching back to the school.

"In past years, we'd created a promotion in which businesses agreed to donate a portion of their sales on parade day," said SMS Foundation President Eilidh Lowery – also the parade's coordinator. "But, our business community does so much for us, we decided to go back to how this started – a parade to say 'thank you' to our businesses and neighbors who give us so much support!

"We live in such a great neighborhood; we enjoy celebrating it with the students," Lowery told THE BEE. "So, we so much enjoy doing this 'small town thing', with the band marching through the streets of the neighborhood, giving a true neighborhood feel, while within a big city."

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