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High school surprises seniors with personalized graduation banners

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SPRINGFIELD - Some high school seniors in Livingston Parish got an extra little surprise to start the week as they wait to officially graduate.

Springfield High School put custom signs outside the school for each senior in the class of 2020. The signs show the students' senior picture and name.

“It’s pretty emotional. This was an extraordinary class and we’re gonna miss them,” Spanish teacher Christine Eisenbrey said.

Graduating seniors at this high school and all over the country have been missing out on the typical last year of high school experiences.

“They had a lot of stuff that they’ve lost out on, that they didn’t get to experience on a normal senior year. Senior breakfast, senior send-off, still up in the air with graduation and stuff,” assistant principal John Chewning said.

“It’s a lot to deal with because I missed out on my senior powerlifting meet, state meets that I’ve been through three other years, and it’s kind of hard missing out on the last one,” senior Austyn Wallace said.

On Monday, Seniors like Wallace drove by the campus that they hadn’t set foot on in almost two months and saw some familiar faces out front.

“Got them to start putting them together. They got them designed. We got them ordered from the school board print shop and within a couple of weeks they had them ready to go,” Chewning said.

Their entire class can be seen pictured in their graduation best. The full display sits outside the high school along Main Street in Springfield.

“It just kind of gives a feeling that the school is still paying attention and really caring for us, going up against the situation that we’re dealing with right now and giving us some hope for the future,” Wallace said.

The 83 seniors that make up the Springfield high class of 2020 have been through a lot in their four short years. The class started their high school careers just after the great flood of 2016, and are ending it with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our school flooded in 2016, so, of course, we missed a few weeks just with the flood stuff. Their bookends have been quite challenging for them,” Chewning said.

Teachers and administrators at the school wanted to make sure the seniors knew exactly how much they mean to them before closing this chapter in their lives. They hope these signs reflect just that.

“I’ve taught almost every one of them and they’re all so special, each in their own way. Next year when we come back without them, the schools gonna feel very empty,” Eisenbrey said.

Seniors will be allowed to take their banners home sometime after the school year officially ends when the school takes them down.

The Livingston Parish School System has not made any definitive decision yet regarding graduation ceremonies. All events have been postponed until at least June in hopes that some sort of modified ceremonies can still take place on campus.

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