Community members are showing public support in lights and on lawns for this year’s high school seniors, who will be finishing out the school year virtually following last week’s extension of Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order.
“We’re going to be a sea of blue over here,” said Shelly Bergstrom, whose son, Brock, is a senior at Superior High School.
Bergstrom is spearheading a sign campaign to give this year’s Spartans a boost. She sent out a message on Facebook groups, asking if people wanted to purchase a “Once a Spartan, Always a Spartan” graduation sign for their lawns.
Created by Advantage Emblem and Screenprinting in Duluth, Bergstrom was hoping to order at least 100 to qualify for the biggest price break.
The first order of 447 is due next week. It includes a free sign for every member of the class of 2020, paid for by the Superior School District.
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People have already volunteered to plant signs in teams. Others are sending in checks to purchase signs that can be distributed in the community. A second order is expected.
“This is bringing people together here,” Bergstrom said.
She got the idea from a friend who was in charge of the graduation party in Proctor.
Aryanah Bentley with Advantage Emblem, another friend of Bergstrom’s, asked if she wanted to do something similar in Superior.
“The senior yard signs are a great way to bring people together, not only the seniors, but their community members,” Bentley said.
Another recognition effort is underway at Shirts Unlimited. The Superior business is offering “Congrats!” yard signs for both Superior and Northwestern high school graduates.
“A lot of my friends have seniors at Northwestern,” said owner Tina Prior. “Some of the parents were thinking about it, 'What can we do for the seniors?' One of the parents thought of the yard signs.”
Shirts Unlimited is selling a double-sided design, which can also be used as a poster at graduation parties. There is no need to have a graduating senior to display a sign.
The more signs, the better.
“I want to have them when you come off the bridges, when you come into town on Tower, out by Gronks,” Bergstrom said. “Then people can see 'Hey, we’re supporting our kids.'”
Leave the light on
Northwestern High School is taking part in the “Be the Light” campaign honoring seniors. Every Monday at 8:20 p.m., the football field lights will be lit for 20 minutes as a symbol of hope.
“I had seen a news story a week ago and liked the idea,” said NHS Principal Mark Carlson. “We have been talking about some ways we can show our support for the kids and community, so this was perfect timing.”
Roughly 40 cars drove past beside the school April 13, the first week of the campaign, despite technical difficulties. The lights didn’t come on.
“We plan to do this each Monday as long as we are not allowed to hold classes in the building, or until the end of the school year,” Carlson said.
District Administrator Sara Croney said the district plans to hold a graduation ceremony for Northwestern seniors after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, whenever that may be.
“Seniors have waited 13 years for us to celebrate them, and that is what we are going to do,” Croney said. “Unfortunately we will just need to delay the ceremony date to abide by the governor’s order.”
Superior District Administrator Amy Starzecki informed parents Monday, April 20 that the district plans to hold a graduation ceremony June 6.
"However, we are looking at virtual options for students to wear their caps and gowns and receive their diploma and for families to join in the celebration," Starzecki said.
More information on the celebration is expected in the coming weeks.