Please support the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s COVID-19 coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at gazettenet.com because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities. If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate.

Thank you for your support of the Gazette.

Michael Moses, Publisher


Sponsored by:

‘We love our seniors’: South Hadley celebrates Class of 2020 with sign for each graduate

  • South Hadley High School Class of 2020 treasurer Bryan Wolf, right, and his father, Wally Wolf, visit a new display in front of the school honoring the 140 seniors of SHHS on Saturday, May 16, 2020. The work was a collaboration of several groups, including the senior parents’ Facebook group, a local printer and sponsor PeoplesBank. The class’s graduation ceremony, postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 7. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Julie Gentile stopped in front of South Hadley High School on Saturday, May 16, 2020, to admire the new display honoring the 140 seniors of the Class of 2020, including her son, Anthony Gentile, in foreground. The class’s graduation ceremony, postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 7. According to Gentile, the work was a collaboration among several groups, including the senior parents’ Facebook group, a local printer and sponsor PeoplesBank. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A new display outside South Hadley High School on Newton Street honors the 140 seniors of the Class of 2020. The work was a collaboration of several entities including the senior parents’ Facebook group, a local printer and sponsor PeoplesBank. The class’s graduation ceremony, postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 7. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 5/19/2020 4:47:40 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — While South Hadley High School seniors won’t be able to walk across the stage in June to receive their diplomas, school officials are finding creative ways to showcase graduates in the community.

Along Newton Street, a new display features signs honoring each of the 140 students in the Class of 2020. Every sign displays a photo of one of the individual graduates, while a fence behind the display features a “We love our seniors” message.

Previously, school officials had placed signs on graduates’ lawns congratulating them on their accomplishment. But interim Principal Elizabeth Wood and Jennifer Quinn, a teacher and senior class adviser, wanted to take the effort a step further.

“South Hadley is a town that’s riddled with lots of traditions,” Wood said, “and one of the traditions is making sure that each individual gets recognized.”

With graduation currently postponed to August 7 — whether it is a virtual or in-person ceremony — Wood said the display felt like “the next best step” in showing students they are appreciated.

“We really just wanted a way to show the students and their families that we’re thinking of them,” she added, “and we appreciate all their contributions to this school,” as well as to the community.

Wood and Quinn spent about three hours setting up the display on Saturday morning, with some help from their families and encouragement from passersby.

“The cars driving by were all tooting, were all waving,” Wood said.

Since the signs were set up, Wood said that many parents and students have also stopped by, often taking pictures and videos.

Initially, Wood said that school officials were not sure if the idea could become a reality — with the school district’s budget difficulties, Wood did not know if the necessary funding to design and print the signs was available.

But a School Committee member reached out to PeoplesBank, which agreed to sponsor the cost of making the signs, and someone else suggested working with Go Graphix in East Longmeadow to design the displays.

“It was just this really big combined effort and list of all the things we wanted to do to make sure the class was recognized,” Wood said, “and then the community coming together to put us in contact with the right people for the right price to make this happen.”

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy