Community rallies to show support for Class of 2020 High School graduates

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Senior billboard on Hwy 1 South.

Source: City of Natchitoches

We all know Covid-19 has cancelled many plans and has really pushed people to their limits. School students have felt this upset to their daily lives. With schools closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, students are figuring out home schooling and dealing with the loss of many big events. The biggest of all is graduation for high school seniors

D&D Construction

Recognizing this disappointment, a group of Natchitoches Central High School senior parents decided to do something to make a difference. Not only did they want to make a difference for their own seniors and high school, but for every single class of 2020 seniors in Natchitoches Parish.

Working closely with Mayor Lee Posey, the City of Natchitoches and many local businesses, they created a plan to display yard signs with each individual graduate’s portrait to honor every graduating senior from Natchitoches Parish on the beautiful Downtown Natchitoches Riverbank.

This includes Natchitoches Central, Lakeview, St. Mary’s, LSMSA, Oasis of Love and homeschooled students. Over 500 graduating seniors will be on display for the community to honor. With the assistance of Randy LaCaze, Front Street will also have flags from each of the high schools flying to show support for the graduates. This will all take place Tuesday, April 28 through Sunday, May 3 on the downtown riverbank.

With a plan in place, the next step was to secure support. As it’s known to do, the Natchitoches community rallied and many chose to support this mission including Alliance Compressors, Rhodes Realty, Rhodes Property & Development, Jackson Automotive, Natchitoches Police Officers Association Local #1998, Louisiana State Troopers Association, Maglieaux’s Riverfront Restaurant, Northwestern State University, City Bank & Trust, LSMSA Foundation, A+ Coalition, City of Natchitoches, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, Signs and Banners, Natchitoches Parish Journal, Kyndall Harrell-Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance, BOM, Super One Foods, Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center, Exchange Bank and Trust, Kristina’s Events & Weddings, Engage Federal Credit Union, Xstream Pressure Washing, Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court David Stamey, Sherriff-Elect Stuart Wright, First Federal Bank and NCHS Senior Parents.

While things remain uncertain during the Covid-19 pandemic, the City asks that families and students that want to visit the riverbank maintain all social distancing protocols (no groups of more than 10 people). Please be safe when visiting the riverbank and taking photos. On Sunday, May 3, the signs will be given to the respective schools for distribution to seniors.

Lee Posey

“The City was honored to assist and support in recognizing the seniors of Natchitoches Parish during these unprecedented times. As always, I am amazed by the support of this community to rally together for a great cause, but most importantly for the students in our parish,” Mayor Posey said.

“I cannot even begin to explain the emotions felt during this process. To say the community rallied with us is an understatement. There was never a hesitation, or second thought given. We are blessed to live in a community that loves and supports one another. Working with each principal, community leader, and business leader to secure the funds to honor these high school seniors in such a way has been a very humbling experience. One thing I can tell you without a doubt these school leaders love their students and have gone above and beyond to help us make this happen,” Said Sarah Stewart Nelson, Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce Board Member

“This class has been a pleasure to see grow and develop leadership skills during the last four years. I will miss them and wish all the Class of 2020 bright and rewarding futures,” Said Bill Gordy, Principal, Natchitoches Central High School

Andrea Harrell

“We have such a great group of senior leaders, and, sadly, they are missing a lot of the cherished moments that are very meaningful to them and our entire school community. St. Mary’s is thankful to the City of Natchitoches and all of those involved in making this happen. While this does not replace everything our seniors have missed, I hope this is one way we can highlight them and show them how much they have meant to St. Mary’s Catholic School,” said Andrea Harrell, Principal, Saint Mary’s Catholic School

“Our community is so blessed. We are blessed to have great seniors who will continue to make our community proud. We are blessed to have great educators and parents who have prepared these incredible seniors for a productive life. And we are truly blessed to have a caring, loving community to continue to support quality education in our parish,” said William Hymes, Principal, Lakeview High School

Steve Horton

“At LSMSA we formally begin celebrating the Senior Class on May 1 when they make their final decisions as to what their plans will be after commencement. So many events lead up to this date, however, and because of the circumstances over the past six weeks, we missed all of them. We are truly grateful for the Natchitoches community for including LSMSA in its commencement celebration. Though our students are having to celebrate all over the state, their true home is Natchitoches where LSMSA provided them with their groundings to excel in the world,” said Dr. Steve Horton, Executive Director, LSMSA

“Thank you for honoring these young people who won’t receive their normal accolades of finishing their senior year the normal way. Thank you for including Monique Monette who is our only senior at Oasis of Love Christian Academy. She is so deserving. She is an A Honor roll student who works so hard and has a very bright future ahead of her,” said Francis Allen, Principal, Oasis of Love Christian Academy

Grant Eloi and wife

“I am so incredibly proud of our 2020 senior class. No other class in the history of our district, state, or nation has had the difficulties this class has faced. It is so inspiring to see them deal with this adversity and although I wish things were different, I thoroughly believe they will be stronger adults after having dealt with this. To the parents, educators, administrators, staff, business leaders, community leaders and all stakeholders of Natchitoches Parish I cannot thank you enough for coming together to honor our students in such a unique and significant way. Natchitoches is amazing and its indelible spirit is exemplified through this event!” said Grant Eloi, Superintendent Natchitoches Parish Schools

#NPSB #TogetherWeCan #NatchitochesStrong #AloneTogether #Classof2020