COLORADO SPRINGS – High School seniors are facing a final year of standard education like no one has ever experienced before. It has been a year cut short with traditions lost with it.
“Walking across the stage with your class, senior prom,” said Cheyenne Mountain High School Senior Ethin Brady. “Yeah, you can go to prom as a junior but senior prom is the last one and you really want to do it.”
Like the rest of us, the final two months have been an adjustment for Brady. Having to finish his academic career at home has brought distractions and a sudden yearning for the things another disease, senioritis, had previously quelled.
“I have had trouble with actually showing up to class senior year, but now that we don’t have class, I much rather show up to class to do the work,” Brady said.
Brady showed up bright and early to his school Wednesday morning. There were no classes on the schedule but an email from School District 12 Superintendent Walt Cooper brought him there.
“Our [Parent Teacher Organization] alongside our Tradition of Excellence Foundation decided they wanted each senior to feel recognized and be able to do something in their neighborhoods when people drive by,” Cheyenne Mountain High School Principal Carrie Brenner said.
One by one, the schools 325 seniors collected yard signs decked out with the Class of 2020 from their high school. Some parents got it for the students, students got them for each other and some students took pictures in front of their now deserted school.
“I think it’s going to help them realize that we see them, we miss them and we’re here to celebrate with them,” Brenner said.
What graduation will look like is unknown. The district, like many, has made the decision to cancel in-person education for the rest of the year.
It could be the last event the students have at the school they spent nearly a quarter of their young lives attending.
“I didn’t think we were going to get anything to take home and show that we’re proud of how far we’ve come with District 12 and particularly the high school. It’s really hard,” said Brady.
Down Cresta Lane, 375 more signs were placed on the south side of Cheyenne Mountain Middle Schools. They don messages thanking teachers, staff, people working on the front lines, and businesses in the community.
School District 12 Superintendent Walt Cooper letter informing people about the signs said they were for the community to show gratitude to those who have sacrificed–whether it be academic traditions, income, or time with their family.
“We’re a tight community and we do a lot for the schools, for our local businesses, with our parents and I think we’ve all felt it so we want to focus on moving forward,” said Brenner.
Moving forward for Brady is coming quickly. The end of May brings his first trip as part of enlisting into the United States Marine Corp. For now though, he appreciates the efforts made to memorialize the short time left he has as a student.
“Just to see them all standing out here giving us all signs, it honestly touches my heart,” he said. “I never thought it would happen and I’m glad it’s happening now.”