Seniors celebrate graduation with yard signs

For the class of 2020, this is a senior year no one will forget. In place of major events such as prom and graduation, seniors are enduring a pandemic. However, parents and local community members have banded together and in an attempt to give the graduating class recognition in creative ways.
Since plans for graduation are still up in the air, alternate plans such as the senior tribute cruise down Main Street on April 18 were put into play. The next approaching plans are the production of yard signs to recognize each senior. Todd Barnes with State Farm Insurance is sponsoring the efforts and is helping to pay for one sign for each senior.
“It has been fun seeing the community rally together to support our graduating seniors in this challenging time,” Barnes said. “I had seen the signs being done in other areas and wanted to do something similar for the Newton seniors.”
The signs are being produced by MPrint and Sign, a local printing and sign shop. MPrint and Sign specialize in not only yard signs but also window decals, banners, business cards, promotional items and more. Barnes has received a large amount of help from parents as well as another small local business owner in efforts for the production of the senior yard signs.
“I received a lot of help from Kevin Geraci who owns Visivo, a local marketing company,” Barnes said. “Kevin worked with MPrint and Sign to make everything happen. Parents like Tiara McDonald have also worked with parents and students to make this happen.”
Parents of the graduating class have played a big part when it comes to making sure students receive recognition for their hard work throughout their high school career.
“It was all my mom’s idea [to purchase a sign],” senior Gabrielle Matthews said. “Since our graduation was canceled, she thought it would be nice to have a sign like many other families around Newton.”
An email was recently sent out to the senior students and parents explaining the tentative plans for the production of the yard signs. The email asked if those interested would send their seniors name and a photo to MPrint and Sign. The deadline for senior sign photos is April 30, however, signs are also able to be made without a photo.
“We ordered the sign from the high school email, our neighbor was one of the sponsors,” Matthews said. “I believe we are participating in the drive by and honk.”
On May 16 at 7 p.m. a “Drive by and Honk” is being hosted to honor the seniors and recognize the signs placed in the front property of Newton High. It is advised that participants start on 12th and Main Street and head west on 12th to Meridian Street.
“The drive by and honk will be a fun time for the community to show up and support our seniors,” Barnes said. “Chad Gay, the Harvey County Sheriff, and the school resource officers plan to attend the drive by and honk to help support the senior class.”