Sponsor spotlight: Holy Rosary returns to Edmonds 4th of July Parade to celebrate milestone anniversary

Holy Rosary Edmonds Parish and School 4th of July parade contingent. (Photos courtesy of Holy Rosary Parish)

Father Matthew O’Leary was busy moving into his new Edmonds home in early July two years ago when some friends invited him to walk down to see the town’s acclaimed 4th of July parade. While watching the festivities, Father Matthew remembers thinking, “One thing missing is our Holy Rosary float.” Flash forward one year: Holy Rosary Edmonds Parish not only had a float in the parade, but won the award for Most Original Float by the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce. Just like that, a new tradition was born.

“It was such a wonderful surprise to earn that recognition from the Chamber,” said Father Matthew. “Our team was so excited to win the award and eager to make this an annual event for our parish.”

Inspired by last year’s success, in April of this year the parish’s intrepid team of parade planners was back at the drawing table, eagerly designing this year’s float. With the school’s 60th anniversary looming next fall, the float theme was a slam dunk: Holy Rosary School’s “Diamond Jubilee” with images from the year 1964 when the school first opened its doors and a soundtrack to accompany them.

“Narrowing down our list of favorite songs from 1964 was a challenge,” Father Matthew said with a smile. “One of my personal favorites was the Beatles’ Twist and Shout. How can you not sing and dance along to that one?”

With the soundtrack confirmed, the team got to work remodeling last year’s award-winning, patriotic church float into a country schoolhouse, complete with the school’s 60th anniversary logo, a clanging school bell, a picture column of images from 1964, and photos of students’ smiling faces in the school windows.

Image of Holy Rosary School’s parade float.

“We have an incredibly talented team of parishioners led by Greg Schuler and Jim Pinsoneault who designed and constructed this float. Fortunately, I was only an advisor, not a builder,” laughed Father Matthew.

Holy Rosary Parade Float Team project leaders and parishioners Jim Pinsoneault and Greg Schuler.

So, this 4th of July, Father Matthew again found himself proudly leading a group of more than 50  candy-throwing school and parish volunteers proudly donning Holy Rosary t-shirts while walking behind a little wooden schoolhouse bedazzled in sparkling decorations, American flags, and red, white and blue trim (in honor of both the patriotic holiday and Holy Rosary School’s colors). But this year, the priest had company at the head of the contingent: The school’s new principal, Larkin Temme, who joined Holy Rosary last summer.

From L-R: Former Holy Rosary Principal Sue Venable, current Principal Larkin Temme, Father Matthew O’Leary and Holy Rosary parishioner and float constructor Greg Schuler.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Father Matthew, former Principal Sue Venable and our team of volunteers in this year’s parade – and I’m so proud and excited to be leading our school into its 60th year!” said Temme. “Holy Rosary has such a vibrant community and incredible history of success. It’s pretty amazing to see it all come alive at an event like this one.”

“A love for community has always been at the core of who we are as a parish and school,” added Father Matthew. “So, celebrating with our Edmonds community in the 4th of July parade is a perfect fit for Holy Rosary.”

Father Matthew O’Leary leads the Holy Rosary parade team.

There was much to celebrate on this sunny Independence Day. When Holy Rosary School first opened its doors in downtown Edmonds in September of 1964, about 120 students were enrolled in the first three grades, with plans to add another grade each year.

Holy Rosary class photo from 1964. (Courtesy Holy Rosary Parish)

In 2024, the accredited elementary and middle school has nearly 270 students currently enrolled in pre-kindergarten through eighth grades. It boasts an after-school extended care program, robust STEM, arts and music curricula, a schoolwide Spanish immersion program, a successful CYO sports program, a vibrant alumni community, and numerous awards and recognitions accrued over its past six decades. What better way to celebrate than a parade?

“We have a year of special events planned to commemorate our school’s 60th anniversary, and today was an amazing way to kick it all off,” said Principal Temme. “Just one more awesome HR memory to add to my quickly growing list!”

Holy Rosary Principal Larkin Temme in the Edmonds 4th of July parade. (Photo courtesy Holy Rosary Parish)

While the parade team walked away without a Chamber award this year, they did not leave empty-handed. Taking in the joyful scene, waving crowd and cheers of support, Principal Temme was beaming with pride.

“All the love and support we felt from the community today was such an incredibly rewarding experience! Thank you, Edmonds!” she exclaimed.

Father Matthew agreed and added with a smile, “We’re already excited for next year’s parade. And in the meantime, we have a whole year of 60th anniversary festivities ahead. We’ve only begun to celebrate!”

Holy Rosary Catholic School has been inspiring lifelong learners since 1964. We’d love to meet you and show you around our beautiful campus in downtown Edmonds! Please contact us at Holy Rosary School Request for Information  to learn more and to schedule a visit, or take a virtual tour here.

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