This may be one of the oddest school years on record, especially for seniors who’ll be missing out on all the usual end-of-year festivities, including (among many things) prom and graduation.
Lily Smedshammer, who is president of the West County Teachers’ Association, was trying to think of something that the community could do to honor graduating seniors in west county when she noticed signs honoring grads popping up in her Santa Rosa neighborhood.
“We had such an abrupt end to the school year — nobody realized it was truly an ending to seeing each other in person — and it was particularly pointed for our seniors. There was no closure to their 12-year journey in the school system,” Smedshammer said. “They didn’t get all of the rites of passage that typically come up at the end of high school.”
She loved the idea of the yard signs, noting they’re “a way of honoring our graduating seniors and shining a light on them for the accomplishment of finishing their high school careers.”
Smedshammer brought the idea to the West Sonoma County Schools Community Action Coalition, which is made up of community members and the heads of the all the various booster, education foundation and parent groups at west county high schools.
Within days, the whole project was funded.
According to Adam Parks, who is a founding member of the coalition as well as president of the Analy Boosters, the various organizations stepped forward right away.
“Loretta Castleberry very quickly volunteered to ask the Analy Alumni Association," and with the help of the Analy Education Foundation, they funded 250 signs for every graduating senior at Analy High School, Parks said. “The El Molino Boosters and the El Molino Education Foundation paid for the 140 signs for El Molino graduates, and Sawyer Construction and Victorian Farmstead Meats (Parks’ company) split the cost of 40 signs for Laguna High School graduates.”
The signs, which were made by Chromagraphics in Santa Rosa, were delivered on Tuesday. Parks said they’ll be available for pick-up at the high schools.
For information about sign pick-up, contact Analy vice principal Erin Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org El Molino principal Matt Dunkle at mdunkle. email@example.com or Laguna Principal Lindsay Apkarian at firstname.lastname@example.org.