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Celebrating our high school graduates

There’s no doubt this has been a disappointing spring for this year’s high school seniors.

They never had the chance to close out their careers in sports.

There was no opportunity to perform in one last musical.

Annual awards dinners? Nope.

There have been no proms, no graduation ceremonies, no senior picnics and no graduation parties.

This year’s seniors never had the chance just to sit back and enjoy their lives, sharing that sense of relief that comes from reaching a significant achievement while, at the same time, maybe taking a few moments to be a little apprehensive while thinking about the experiences that are coming next.

None of that can be replaced, but it’s good to know that parents, school officials and communities are stepping up to make sure that this year’s graduating seniors knew they have not been forgotten.

Signs were distributed to each of the graduates, caravans traveled through every neighborhood, banners that listed the name of every senior were created and hung, visits were made to the homes of every senior by school officials, virtual graduation ceremonies were held, allowing each senior to have the opportunity to walk across a stage in front of his or her relatives.

Residents of every community in our are have stepped forward, as we saw again last week in Weirton, where individual banners were created recognizing graduating seniors from Weir High, Madonna and the Tri-State Christian Academy. They have been placed on telephone poles along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Credit Michelle D’Amico, the parent of a graduating Weir High senior, for pushing the project. The idea came, she said, after she had heard of similar efforts being conducted in other communities.

It didn’t take long for the project to gain steam, with donations coming in from all parts of the community, as well as the support of city officials, including Mayor Harold Miller and City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo. John Newbrough of Newbrough Photo coordinated the work of area photo studios, including Tamara’s Camera, Kathleen and Paul’s, Shannon’s Snapshots and Crissy Fierro Photography, to collect senior photos and have the banners made. City crews placed the banners.

Seniors, we know that nothing can replace the experiences that have been lost and the moments that have been stolen by the COVID-19 pandemic. Your final year of high school has been unlike any we have ever seen and, we hope, is unlike any members of the classes that are coming behind you ever have to see.

Know, though, that residents in each of our area’s communities have shown time and again their willingness to do what has been needed to ensure your work has been recognized.

Congratulations, then, to this year’s seniors for earning their diplomas — and thanks to everyone who has stepped forward to help make this year special.

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