Co-ops Find Creative Ways to Celebrate High School Grads Amid Pandemic
Editor’s Note: Are high school graduations
happening next month in your communities? We can include a photo on how your
co-op is honoring local graduates. Send photos to Victoria Rocha, firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the coronavirus pandemic forced
states to close schools in mid-March, high school seniors had to say goodbye prematurely
to teachers, classmates, coaches and advisers. It also meant no proms, no end-of-season
athletic banquets, no achievement ceremonies and no graduations.
It’s a raw deal for the Class of
2020. But to help ease the sting, many electric cooperatives are stepping up to
publicly recognize graduates.
Midwest Electric is honoring the graduating class of Bath High School—all 103 of them. Headquartered in St. Marys, Ohio, the co-op teamed with local businesses to create a banner for each student, then placed them on the school’s lawn during a May 12 ceremony.
Students liked the idea, and so did
the parents, said Samantha Kuhn, the co-op’s communications coordinator.
“They deeply appreciated the gesture and, in a way, I think it helped validate for them their students’ achievements in a tangible manner they felt was lacking,” she said. “Their comments on Facebook were some of the sweetest I’ve ever seen on our social media.”
Check out our photo gallery on other ways co-ops are recognizing high school graduates across the country. And hats off to the Class of 2020!
Co-ops Celebrate High School Grads
Dixie EMC, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, serves 32 high schools and is giving a shoutout to each graduate with signs and billboards printed with “Congrats Class of 2020: Bright Futures Ahead!” throughout its service area. The co-op also sponsored a radio spot to honor the senior class. (Photo By: David Latona)
In South Dakota, Eagle Country Radio DJ Ryan Mitchell announces one of several 30-second spots honoring high school seniors in its listening area. Butte Electric Cooperative in Newell is a cosponsor of the station’s “Operation Graduation,” which recognizes local graduates. (Photo Courtesy of Laine Mitchell)
At the Le Mars, Iowa, headquarters of Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative, a 5-foot-by-20-foot banner recognizing local high school seniors helps brighten a gray day. (Photo By: Angela Catton)
When the pandemic scrapped plans by Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative in Centuria, Wisconsin, to personally award college scholarships at students’ schools, the co-op’s Plan B included ads in six local newspapers announcing the winners plans. (Photo By: Joan O’Fallon)
Escambia River Electric Cooperative in Jay, Florida, hasn’t forgotten the 123 graduating seniors at Northview High School. Thanks to the co-op, each senior got a personalized sign to display at home. (Photo By: Savannah Roley)
When Wewahitchka High School asked Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative to help cover the costs of hanging 55 personalized banners for its graduating seniors, the Florida co-op didn’t hesitate, even sending line crews to help. (Photo By: Micah Peak)
Personalized banners for each of the 55 graduates at Hawkins High School fly high in downtown Hawkins, Texas. Wood County Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Quitman, sponsored the flags. (Photo By: Paige Eaton)
Jackson Energy Cooperative, based in McKee, Kentucky, lends its giant American flags and muscle to support celebration parades honoring the graduates of South Laurel and North Laurel High Schools. (Photo By: Lisa Baker)
Stay-at-home orders scrapped Carroll EMC’s graduation party for its student employee, Mi’Kel Copeland, but that didn’t stop it from honoring him with a home yard sign. The Carrollton, Georgia, co-op also honored family members of co-workers with graduates. (Photo By: Brittany Shadix)
Bon Homme Yankton Electric Association operations crews hang a banner honoring a graduating senior from Bon Homme High School in nearby Tabor, South Dakota. The co-op helped schools buy signs for graduates and installed a dozen of them. (Photo By: Jaclyn Arens)
Union Rural Electric Cooperative in Marysville, Ohio, used social media to toast winners of its URE 2020 college scholarship program as well as this year’s Electric Cooperative Youth Tour participants, whose trip to Washington, D.C., was called off due to the pandemic. (Photo By: Sue Gibson)
Bandera Electric Cooperative in Bandera, Texas, added some flair to the local high school’s drive-in graduation by sponsoring banners featuring each graduate to line the road leading up to the ceremony and loaning bucket trucks to display the American and Texas flags. (Photo Courtesy of Bandera ISD)
High school seniors in the three counties served by Lynches River Electric Cooperative in Pageland, South Carolina, can stop by its office for a goodie bag filled with toys and treats. (Photo By: David Sides)
CoServ’s Jennifer Ebert was one of 20 volunteers from the Corinth, Texas, co-op helping parents park and seniors get to their places at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in May. More than 14,000 graduates from 34 high schools received diplomas. (Photo By: Ken Oltmann/CoServ)