By Linda Lane
Ninety signs congratulating every senior graduating from Schoolcraft High School filled the front yard of Shannon and Dave MacDonald’s home before they were distributed to graduates to be placed in their yard of their homes. Students who lived near the MacDonald’s home picked up their sign from their yard; Project Graduation board members delivered signs to students who didn’t live nearby.
The concept was a suggestion from School Superintendent Rusty Stitt for the 2020 Project Graduation Committee. The cost of the signs was split between the district and Project Graduation.
A committee of volunteers have been working diligently fundraising throughout the school year to plan a special evening celebrating the senior class and all of their accomplishments. Complications from the COVID-19 and the shutdown of schools threw a major wrench into the final stages of planning and fundraising.
“Original plans were set to take place on June 7th, after what would have been their graduation day. There is no walk through the elementary in their cap and gowns, no awards night, no spring sports – the list goes on and on. It’s just heartbreaking! We are trying to go above and beyond for this special group of seniors who have already missed out on so much,” explained Angie Deyoung, president of Schoolcraft’s 2020 Project Graduation Committee.
“We’ve had to do lots of improvising. We’ve been forced to scrap many plans that were made, like a final fundraiser with Mancino’s. Instead, we organized a final fundraiser collecting cans and bottles,” Deyoung said. With bottle return centers closed, the group filled a 14-foot enclosed trailer until they can be returned.
Schoolcraft has tentatively planned for a new graduation date on July 26 to be held outside at the Roy Davis football field. Details and plans for the graduation ceremony are yet to be determined. A new date for seniors’ celebrations with Project Graduation has been scheduled for August 2-3. Plans are kept secret, a surprise for the students until they arrive at the destination to learn what fun has been planned for them.
The Project Graduation Committee is still grappling with additional details, waiting for the Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer to release the “Stay At Home” mandate.
“There’s so much unknown yet, that it’s really difficult to make plans. Personally, I like to have a plan and move forward with it, but this unprecedented situation isn’t allowing for that,” Deyoung said.
Shannon MacDonald is the treasurer of Schoolcraft’s 2020 Project Graduation and coordinated the production and distribution of the signs. Additional members of the Schoolcraft’s 2020 Project Graduation include Nicole Radke, vice president, and Tammie Fowler, secretary.