The novel coronavirus may rob the Delta High School Class of 2020 of their prom and normal graduation ceremony, but village residents are determined not to allow the theft of their recognition.
Last week, signs honoring members of the 93-student senior class, modeled after the graduation announcements they won’t be using, appeared on grassy spots all along Main Street. Proclaiming “Class of 2020 Senior” in DHS school colors, each carries the name and photograph of a senior class member. They’re a gesture from village residents who did not want the class to go unrecognized for four years of academic accomplishments.
Tania Snyder, whose daughter Lydia Yoder is a DHS senior, began the project after realizing how dejected the senior class members were about being unable to traditionally finish their final year. After mentioning her intentions on social media she was immediately inundated with citizens’ offers to fund the project.
“It basically started because people in town said, ‘I want to pay for a sign.’ Before we even started (the process) people wanted to give me money,” Snyder said.
Determined to show transparency, she set up a GoFundMe account online April 21 and set a goal for $1,465. In less than 24 hours, the account collected well over $1,500. All requests to place signs on villagers’ and business’ property along Main Street were granted.
“The people in town know how special this is, and how devastating it’s been for the kids. The kids are honored that the town cares,” Snyder said. “No one has said no to putting a sign in their yard.”
Because the project had a sense of urgency, not all senior class members had photos immediately available for the signs. So photographer and Delta resident Tara Johnson offered to take professional shots of any senior who wanted one.
The signs were produced by Next Day Sign of Toledo. The company worked overtime to quickly print the waterproof signs, which have been placed along the downtown route. They will stay up for an indeterminate amount of time, then distributed free to the seniors.
Snyder said any residual money from the GoFundMe account will be considered to fund a delayed senior prom. “Obviously, there’s no date in sight because no one knows when that could happen,” she said.
Should that plan fall through, the remaining donations will be placed with the Pike-Delta-York Board of Education and donated to a local children’s charity.
The sign project was devised to show the DHS Class of 2020 members they’re not overlooked, Snyder said.
“They’re kind of crushed,” she said. “They wanted to go back to school. They’re missing so many great things. They’re so down, but they understand (the circumstance) is bigger than them.”
DHS senior Mindy O’Neill said the signs are a great way to honor her classmates for completing 12 years of school in the district. She said at first she didn’t consider home-schooling traumatic, “but now that it’s coming into reality it’s kind of devastating. I miss all my friends and teachers. I feel cheated out of graduation and prom.”
Mindy said the effort by village residents “really shows great character and support for seniors at this time.”
Snyder said the senior class has reacted with gratitude and appreciation. “You’ve never seem so many heartfelt thanks from them,” she said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.