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Community rallies for seniors

Businesses, villages show support for Class of 2020

With the stay at home order putting a stop to traditional graduation ceremonies in the region, the community is doing what it can to honor the Class of 2020.

In South Point, graduating seniors found out on Thursday that they would be receiving the school’s yearbook, free of charge, thanks to a generous donor.

“The seniors have had a bad year and we reached out to people,” Joan Hall, the yearbook advisor for the school, said.

She said they contacted businesses for donations and when they spoke with South Point businessman Joe Freeman, who owns Quality Care Nursing and Ultimate Health Care, he offered to pay for the entire project, giving all 102 seniors a copy of the book.

“And we have been working with our yearbook company, Walsworth, so that they each have their named stamped on the book and get their own personalized copy,” Hall said.
She said the books should be available this fall.

Freeman said he hopes that businesses throughout the county will consider doing the same.

“I know businesses are hurting,” he said. “But, if you have the money, now is the time to give back to the community and they should consider doing this for the other school districts in the county.”

In Chesapeake, Mayor Kim Oldaker is planning an event to take place on what would have been graduation day.

She said at 2 p.m. on May 24, the seniors will begin lining up at village hall and down the street, spaced at 10 feet apart to comply with social distancing.

The event will be a reverse parade, with those being honored serving as the spectators, while the community will then drive by, along with the fire department and others, to show support.

“You could see the love the kids and teachers had for each other,” she said.
Oldaker, whose son is among the graduates, said that the community also paid tribute to the seniors earlier this week, when the lights were turned on at the high school and everyone drove by the campus.

She said her son will have an appointment for graduation on May 4 and the school will be recording the individual ceremonies to compile a video.

She said the village was glad to work with the school district, which comprises the larger area.

“We want to show the community that we do care,” she said. “It’s not just about who lives in the village and these kids are our future.”