Eagle pride is on display along Baldwin Avenue in Solon Springs this month.
Banners honoring the Solon Springs High School class of 2020 stretch from the school and down the road, one or two per utility pole. The double-sided signs show each senior’s graduation picture on one side with a baby picture of them on the other.
School Board Vice President Angela Botner hatched the idea for the banners after seeing posts about a similar project on Facebook. She used the social media platform to request donations — $37 for a banner and the hardware, or just $26 for the hardware.
“We were able to fund the whole thing within a day or two,” she said.
A total of 25 banners and hardware were ordered — three general Solon Springs banners and 22 picturing seniors. They will line the road during the month of June, leading up to a graduation ceremony tentatively planned for July 11 at Lucius Woods Park. The banners may be used as placemarkers during the event to keep families who attend socially distant.
“People seem very pleased with them,” Botner said of the banners, and a few students admitted to tearing up when they saw them.
Seniors will get to keep their personal banners, while the district will keep the hardware and generic banners for future graduating classes.
School supply fundraiser
As the Solon Springs School District prepares to send off its graduating class, the Solon Springs Educational Foundation is focused on the 2020-21 school year. The nonprofit foundation has pledged to purchase all required school supplies for students and is seeking community donations for the project. A $35 donation will cover the costs of supplies for one student, and people can choose to sponsor more than one. An anonymous donor is matching the first $4,000 received.
“We’re using a couple of local businesses to order bulk,” said Mark Stensvold with the foundation, and the supplies will be stored in a room at the school.
One day after sending out an email to subscribers, the foundation had received more than $1,000 in donations. The total estimated cost to supply all students is $9,500.
The move comes even after the foundation’s main fundraiser, a spring fish fry, was canceled. Dollars from the event are turned around to provide grants for school projects. The foundation funded field trips, a fishing club, an outdoor sap boiler and science equipment last year.
Instead of queuing up a replacement for the fish fry, the foundation kicked off the school supply project to ease the financial burden on families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We didn’t look around for a fundraiser, we looked around for what we can do,” Stensvold said.
District Administrator Frank Helquist said he appreciated the project.
“The foundation has been listening to what they hear in the community, and the members believe that anything we can do to help families work through the COVID (pandemic) and give them something very positive is important,” Helquist said. “The rapid number of donations received thus far is yet another example of how the community cares for each other.”