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What school? Kids swell crowds on Patriots parade route

Kids cheered along the parade route.Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

School? What school?

There were plenty of young faces in the crowd lining the route of the Patriots victory parade Tuesday, making for quiet classrooms and deserted hallways in many Greater Boston schools.

A contingent of Franklin High School students staked out spots, carrying signs proclaiming that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is “#NotMyCommissioner.”

Alison Tammaro of Dedham, whose parents had never let her miss a day of school even when she was sick, brought her boys because — as 9-year-old Jaden interjected — “We won! It’s history!”

Jaden and his younger brother, 5-year-old Darius, never lost faith Sunday night, they said.


“I still believed!” Jaden said.

The Patriots have won five Super Bowls since 2002, so grownups might be excused for being a little blase about the thing. But the young could enjoy it all with new eyes.

Eight-year-old Sophie Malone and her 12-year-old sister, Molly, were missing school in Walpole to watch their first parade. Sophie had employed her stuffed unicorn, appropriately named Magic, to ensure a Patriots victory.

The girls had thought their team would lose, they admitted. But on Tuesday, they braved the wet snow with “probably a lot” of their classmates, Molly said.

“It’s special,” said their mom, Gia Malone. “I think it’s something kids should experience.”

For some kids, the weather had closed schools for them — though, as Kristen Procon noted conspiratorially, “we would have come anyway.”

High School students played hooky in droves.

At Foxborough High School, in the hometown of the Patriots, 300 students were absent Tuesday, said Sheila Sneyd, secretary to the principal. That’s nearly a third of the student body of 838.

“It’s pretty quiet,” Sneyd said.

Debra L. Spinelli, Foxborough’s superintendent, said she was not surprised by that number. In nearby Easton, 180 students were absent at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School, triple the typical 50 or 60, Superintendent Luis Lopes said.


“They are our hometown heroes and we are 100 percent behind them and it’s quite exciting for our community,” Spinelli said.

Perhaps the rampant absenteeism was to be expected, after Lopes all but encouraged students to revel in the Patriots’ victory by delaying the high school’s start time by two hours on Monday, as a way to give sleep-deprived teenagers time to celebrate and recover from the team’s improbable come-from-behind championship.

Lopes said he wasn’t inclined to punish students who ditched trigonometry and biology to see Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady roll through Boston, as long as they had their parents’ permission.

“If the family decides they want to have their child go to the parade, that’s their prerogative,” he said. “That being said, they have to make up the work.”

“I’m very happy to see that,” Lopes said. “We did not see an increase in adults calling out.”

Everett High School had 312 students absent, about 100 more than usual, said Superintendent Frederick Foresteire. He credited the sloppy, snowy weather with holding down what could have been a widespread exodus of teenagers fleeing the city’s high school for a taste of Patriots’ glory.

“There wasn’t a wholesale emptying,” Foresteire said.

Many of the children in attendance at the parade, meanwhile, had come for one reason: Tom Brady.

The Pelletier family had trekked in from Andover because Johnny, 7, is wild about the Patriots and was desperate to lay eyes on Number 12.


He’d stayed up as late as he could watching the game Sunday night, wearing a lucky Patriots shirt. His little sister, 3-year-old Scarlet, had believed they would be spending Tuesday at Brady’s house, and when her mom asked Tuesday where she’d rather be, she revealed that she hadn’t give up hope.

“Wish Tom Brady’s house,” she said quietly with a smile.

The last-minute nature of the win had rattled many of those who lined the parade route, and stoked their fervor to attend the parade.

“It was a really great teaching moment,” said Matthew Weiner, who had brought his girls from Newton to see “the goat on the boat,” a nod to Brady’s reputation as the Greatest of All Time.

“It’s not over till it’s over,” chimed in Cynthia Popp of Natick.

Popp’s son, 12-year-old Anthony, admitted to briefly losing faith. But for good luck, he’d outfitted his yellow Lab Lola in a Brady jersey. She didn’t love it, he said, but she “did her job.”

The win meant Tuesday was a holiday, said Anthony, and on holidays, you miss school.

“And you never know,” said an older and wise Matthew Weiner, “if this is the last one.”

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com.