Instead of finishing the school year alongside classmates and bidding farewell to teachers, students will be wrapping up the academic term at home. For seniors, this presents a different approach to parting ways with high school. As a result of this unexpected change, there have been many efforts to honor the graduating class.
One of the items introduced this year includes a shirt specifically created for senior students. Senior class sponsors Rebecca Smith and Brooke Yeager were involved in the process of executing this project.
“The idea for a senior shirt is new and specifically just for the class of 2020,” Smith said. “The idea was formulated by Mr. Marcinek and the Central Office administration. We wanted to make sure that all of our seniors were recognized for their accomplishments.”
When students pick up their caps and gowns on May 13, they will also receive a free care package composed of the class of 2020 t-shirt, a yard sign and a magnet.
“We understand this is a difficult time for everyone,” Smith said. “We just wanted our seniors to know that we were thinking of them and to do something a little extra special just for the class of 2020.”
According to Smith, the concept of a senior gift was only recently developed to provide acknowledgement for seniors during these unique times. The previous graduating class and others prior did not obtain specially arranged t-shirts or other products.
“I guess I would just say that this was a gift that the school corporation wanted to give the class of 2020 because of this unusual situation,” Smith said. “It has never been the custom for the school corporation to give each senior student a gift their senior year. This is a special situation and we thought it best to do something so that our seniors could be recognized in the community for all that they have accomplished at CPHS.”
The senior class officers were responsible for coming up with a design for the shirt. Senior class president Maria Jeffirs was one of the individuals contacted to carry out this task.
“The senior class sponsors, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Yeager, reached out to me and the three other senior class officers through email,” Jeffirs said. “They said that the senior class will be receiving a t-shirt, and asked if we could send in some possible designs.”
In order to produce a variety of options to choose from, the officers were given some time to plan and share suitable suggestions.
“We had a few days to make different, possible designs. Then, I emailed them (Smith and Yeager) back the designs of all the senior class officers, and then they forwarded them (the designs) to Mr. Marcinek,” Jeffirs said. “There weren’t any online meetings. We just communicated through email.”
Each design submitted contained a similar focal point of unity. Jeffirs believes that this is the most prominent concept to call attention to considering the conditions of our world today.
“The main theme of the shirt is that we are all in this together. This is a situation no one has to go through alone,” Jeffirs said. “Most of the designs we submitted had the same message. I think that is the best message we can send out right now.”
As part of the project and as a senior herself, Jeffirs feels that this is a great way to show the class of 2020 that they are being looked after and considered by staff and administration.
“I think this idea is so sweet. When the senior sponsors reached out, it automatically put a smile on my face,” Jeffirs said. “I love that our school cares so much about the seniors, and wants to send them off the best way possible during this time.”
When it comes to the impression made by the shirts, Jeffirs anticipates that they will act as a means of closure to the graduating class.
“I hope it brings the seniors a sense of happiness and relief,” Jeffirs said. “It is so common for the seniors to feel like they didn’t have a proper goodbye to the things they loved, their friends and their teachers. This shirt can be the goodbye for the high school they needed.”
Both Smith and Yeager believe that the biggest notion to take away from this gesture is the celebration of senior success and the recognition of each student’s achievements through the years.
“We hope that the senior class knows how much they are missed and how we, as a school corporation, are upset with the fact that we were not able to continue traditions for the class of 2020, like every other year,” Smith said. “With these unprecedented times, we want our class of 2020 to remember how strong they really are, how incredible their accomplishments have been, and how proud we are to call them our class of 2020. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for our seniors. They will truly do remarkable things.”