By Mckenzie Moore
The Cedaredge High School (CHS) class of 2020 has faced cancellations of multiple events amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the school has been reaching out to find new ways to recognize the graduates.
Kim Taylor, a parent of a CHS graduate, has been working together with her daughter to hand-make a bow for each graduate. The bows will all have the name of a graduate on them and will be put up on the light posts down Main Street through the end of May. Taylor said she hopes that some members of the class will be able to help hang the ribbons after she’s finished making them.
“It’s been really tough because we’re pretty limited on where we can get the ribbon with stores being closed,” Taylor said. “They’re not going to be exactly the same, and that’s okay because not all the students are exactly the same.”
CHS Principal Randy Brown said that by making publicly-visible acknowledgements of the graduates, he hopes the entire community will be able to be involved in honoring the seniors.
“I hope the town of Cedaredge embraces the fact that our seniors are really struggling with this and they’re missing out, that [the town] really steps up and helps celebrate the fact that we need to be there for our kids,” Brown said.
Taylor said one of the purposes of the graduate ribbons is to encourage students to take photos with them to share with the school, as well as their friends and family.
“What I would really like to have happen is after we get them all hung up, the parents and students can go and find the bow with their name on it, take a picture by the pole and send it in to the school’s Facebook page,” Taylor said.
The ribbons aren’t the only thing the school is doing to honor seniors — in addition, yard signs are in the works for the graduates, and Brown hopes to line the road leading up to the school with photos of each senior.
“If they don’t get to see them in a ceremony, this may be their last memory of them, so anything we can do to celebrate that, we want to make sure that’s there for them,” Brown said. “I think that any time we can showcase our seniors in this crisis, it’s going to be a positive thing for them... We need to celebrate these guys in different ways.”
Taylor agreed that the community should rally around the seniors during what should be one of the biggest moments of their lives.
“I hope they feel like they’re not forgotten is the main thing,” Taylor said. “There’s so much going on right now and they’re kind of getting pushed back, but it’s such a special time for them. We’ve got to do something.”
Brown said that with many post-secondary classes and workplaces shifting to remote work, he hopes that this year’s seniors will have gained important technology skills that can aid them in their futures.
“I hope that they remember this is a unique time, that they’re creating their own memories, just in different ways,” Brown said. “I hope they understand it’s important for them to remember this is what it is, that they had to make adjustments for their last two or three months of their senior year. I hope they learn this as a skill and it’s something that will help them in future.”
Most importantly, Brown said he wants CHS students to know how much the school still cares, and that it will continue to support graduating seniors.
“Just know that we care a great deal about the kids at CHS,” Brown said. “We miss them greatly. I feel so badly for the class of 2020 and what they missed out on. I think about the proms, the track and field events, the camaraderie that they built, the senior teas and trap shoots, all those things that are so special at the end of the year.
“I want them to know that we are thinking of them and we are here for them, and when this all passes, they’re welcome back any time to celebrate with us.”