Grand marshals Tyler Bolyard, Olivia Walters inspired Swanton parade theme

Grand marshals Olivia Walters and Tyler Bolyard led the 2015 Christmas in Swanton parade on Saturday, Dec. 5.

The pair of Swanton High School seniors were chosen to lead the parade because of the pride and commitment they have shown through their schoolwork, activities and community service.

“This year’s parade theme, Hometown Pride and Christmas Joy, was actually inspired by them,” said Christmas in Swanton chairperson, Mike Rochelle. “Both of these students have been a source of pride and joy for the entire community. Whether it is the way Tyler takes the field with the marching band or Olivia’s smile when she is cheering on the sidelines, their pride and joy in what they do is contagious. They have given Swanton a great gift over the last four years.”

Tyler is the son of Fred and Dawn Bolyard and has spent four years in marching band and is currently Vice President. He volunteers at Crestwood Elementary daily, where the students look forward to his morning announcements and high fives down the hallway. He participates in the BGSU dance marathon each year and has been an award-winning fund raiser for that event. Tyler is planning on attending Penta next year.

Olivia is the daughter of Ron and Jodi Walters. She has been involved in cheerleading for football and basketball seasons for four years. She serves as a greeter at Fallen Timbers Community Church. Olivia is a model with P. Marie Talent Management and Entertainment Group and will be featured as the Snow Queen in the group’s upcoming fashion show. She works for Endevis as a data entry specialist. She plans on attending Penta next year.

Tyler and Olivia were accompanied in the parade by SHS teacher Courtney Duncan, who said of the two, “These students changed my life in the best of ways. I met them seven years ago at Swanton Middle School and was then lucky enough to follow them to Swanton High School. This has been one amazing journey, and I’m so glad I was chosen to be a part of it. I will miss them when they graduate in May, but look forward to seeing all that they will accomplish as adults.”

Following Tyler and Olivia, over 20 units participated in the parade including the Marching Bulldogs, King and Queen; Frank Hughes and Shirley Manning, Princes and Princesses; Benjamin Taylor, Drew Bryan, Wyatt Rhodes, Lacey Shinaver, Elianna Sgro, Izabella Donald, an exciting entry from the Swanton Local School District Transportation Department and floats from various businesses and organizations. The floats were judged and taking first place was Swanton Health Care, second place went to St. Richard’s and the Lions Club received third.

There were some changes to the layout of the event at the high school this year. The craft show was held inside the gym as opposed to throughout the hallways where it was set up in the past.

Craft Show chair Pam Raab, said, “Setting up in the gym allowed more room for shoppers to walk from table to table. It was a much more comfortable set-up.”

Kids of all ages were able to enjoy visits with Santa, a model train display, a performance by Juggler, Matt Jergens, making crafts, decorating cookies, meeting Snow White, Cinderella, Batman and Superman, and seeing Happy the Clown throughout the day.