In mid-April, Gov. Mike Parson announced that all Missouri public and charter school facilities would remain closed for the rest of the academic year.  This order has resulted in several changes in plans for high school seniors, including not having a traditional graduation ceremony.  But one aspect that has not changed is the tremendous community support for students of all ages, and particularly graduating seniors.

High School teacher Heather Smith stated that the district administrators and teachers wanted to do something to recognize the seniors. Parents had contacted her about the idea of getting yard signs for the homes of all high school seniors, which she took to school administrators.  Witt Print Shop owner Brian Kirmse then offered to produce the yard signs at cost, and the school district agreed to cover the production expenses to ensure that all high school seniors would be able to have a yard sign.  Brian Kirmse stated that, “I just want the kids and families to know that there are so many people that support them and understand the complexity of their feelings in this situation.  The small town they grew up in is ALL IN for them and wishes them the best.”

The result is that high school seniors feel the support and best wishes from people throughout the community.  High school senior Audrey Cafourek shares that, “Honestly, those signs are basically equivalent to my diploma at this point.  To me it’s showing that I made it through all 13 years of school.  Since we aren’t originally from this community, it’s extra special.  We feel embraced!”

By Ernie Wren