Drive-by parade honors retiring West Oak Middle School principal Christopher Willeford

  • West Oak Middle School Principal Christopher Willeford watches a retirement parade Friday with his wife, Andrea, at the school in Mundelein. Willeford has been principal at the Diamond Lake District 76 school for 17 years.

      West Oak Middle School Principal Christopher Willeford watches a retirement parade Friday with his wife, Andrea, at the school in Mundelein. Willeford has been principal at the Diamond Lake District 76 school for 17 years. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • West Oak Middle School Principal Christopher Willeford received a retirement parade Friday at the Mundelein school.

      West Oak Middle School Principal Christopher Willeford received a retirement parade Friday at the Mundelein school. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • A parade Friday for West Oak Middle School retiring Principal Christopher Willeford included a police and fire department escort with a host of teachers, staff members, parents and students honking, waving, holding signs and handing out gifts at the school in Mundelein.

      A parade Friday for West Oak Middle School retiring Principal Christopher Willeford included a police and fire department escort with a host of teachers, staff members, parents and students honking, waving, holding signs and handing out gifts at the school in Mundelein. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/15/2020 1:23 PM

A car parade Friday at West Oak Middle School in Mundelein helped Principal Christopher Willeford celebrate his retirement.

Willeford has been principal at the Diamond Lake District 76 school for 17 years. Friday's parade included a police and fire department escort with a host of teachers, staff members, parents and students honking, waving, holding signs and handing out gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Willeford and his wife, Andrea, stood by the sign near the school entrance on Acorn Lane in Mundelein. Willeford said the parade was unbelievable and heartwarming, and he appreciates the sentiment.

He said his fondest memory is "growing as a human working with our students and their families, and being a better person for it."

The principal praised the West Oak teachers.

"The most important thing is that there's an approach by the teachers that they will do whatever they have to do to support the kids. You can't measure that," Willeford said. "That's the biggest legacy and the biggest positive attribute of this school. It's the best-kept secret in Lake County."

Peter Cunningham, the school's new principal, helped coordinate Friday's parade.

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