PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The class of 2020 won’t get to experience a typical graduation this year, but for students at one Providence high school, the pomp and circumstance was brought right to their homes.
Juanita Sanchez High School distributed lawn signs to all of its 90 seniors Thursday to congratulate them on the major milestone.
The gesture meant a lot of senior Jerelen Valerio.
“It feels nice, it feels appreciative because during the pandemic its kind of hard. At least I’m getting something out of it,” Valerio said.
Valerio said she called her friends immediately after she received her lawn sign.
“We all called each other and we were like ‘Did you get the sign? Yeah, me too,’ and we started crying,” she said.
Shannon Gormley, a teacher at Juanita Sanchez and the Class of 2020’s advisor, said she wanted to do something to celebrate their hard work.
“We knew we wanted to make them feel special and make them have something that they can appreciate,” Gormely said.
She said that she was one of about a dozen teachers who helped pass out the signs to students.
“It really was a surprise to them and I really think they appreciated it a lot,” she said.
The graduating students missed out on moments that they won’t be able to experience again, like prom and walking across a stage to get their diploma, but Valerio said she and her other classmates are making the best of it.
All of Providence’s public schools will have virtual graduation ceremonies at the end of June. For Juanita Sanchez, the money saved from not having an in-person ceremony was put toward the cost of the lawn signs.