This time each year, high school seniors are pushing through the last week or two of school in eager anticipation of graduation. Unfortunately, most members of the high school Class of 2020 will miss out on all of the pomp and circumstance of large ceremonies because of social distancing requirements related to the coronavirus.
While many of the normal senior year traditions have slipped away, many communities and school officials are coming together to find ways to celebrate these special students. In Texas, one principal visited all 612 members of his senior class to show them they haven’t been forgotten.
In Graceville, Florida, Poplar Springs High School principal Farica West wanted to honor the community’s senior class in her own special way. Figuring out how to honor the 30 members of the Class of 2020 wasn’t easy, though.
“I prayed about it but nothing came to me,” West told Yahoo Life. Then, one morning in April, West woke up with a plan to help the seniors leave their mark: She’d line the long driveway into the high school campus with individual portraits of all 30 members of the Class of 2020.
West secretly gathered the seniors’ photos and passed them on to parent Josh Mattox, a photographer, who blew them up into posters with “Class of 2020” running along the bottom of each. Then, for two days, West and her family mounted each poster, measured the distance in between each one, and carefully placed them along the path.
West’s project was a hit — and it started getting picked up by media outlets around the country:
Residents from all over the community started coming to Poplar High School to see the display and to celebrate the students who have missed out on so many special events in recent months.
And, of course, members of the Class of 2020 have stopped by to see their special tribute.
Lydia Dixon shared her moment on Instagram with friends and family.
For West, her vision made into reality was meant to show her students and the community that there are still reasons and ways to celebrate, even during a challenging moment in time.
“I saw entire families get out of their cars, cry, hug, snap a photo. I saw hope on their faces,” she told Parade. “At that moment, in the middle of these cotton fields, I knew we were truly in the midst of something special. It was something no pandemic, no quarantine, nothing could ever take from these seniors and their families.”