Traditional high school graduation ceremonies look very different this year as administrators, teachers, parents and communities scramble to find innovative ways to recognize the senior classes of 2020. And the Gulfport community is no exception. Home to Boca Ciega High School (BCHS) on 58th Street South, Gulfport is stepping up to celebrate its seniors in the form of a Gulfport Community Card, located outside the Gulfport Public Library.
“As many of you know, we have a terrific high school here in the city of Gulfport, and its dedicated teachers educate over 1700 students every single day,” said former Gulfport City Councilmember Yolanda Roman, who spearheaded the effort. “Gulfport also has many residents that graduated from BCHS.”
The high school has been closed since March due to COVID-19, and it has been a difficult time for students, particularly seniors who are missing the typical senior rites of passage such as prom and multiple ceremonial events.
Roman felt she had to come up with a way to recognize these students so she reached out to BCHS Principal Michael Vigue and Gulfport City Manager Jim O’Reilly, a BCHS graduate. Both agreed something needed to be done, and Roman created the Gulfport Community Card program to celebrate the senior class of 2020.
Having “Gulfport residents and businesses create signs to honor our children is fantastic and appreciated,” said Principal Vigue.
A large banner was hung up outside the library that reads “Gulfport Congratulates the Boca Ciega High School Graduates of 2020.” Those who want to contribute items of support, such as inspirational messages, cards, posters, flowers, teddy bears, ribbons and whatever else might inspire the students, can drop them off outside the library by the banner. Roman urges people to get creative and to spread the word with as many friends, neighbors and groups as possible.
In keeping with the need for social distancing, there will not be any public ceremonies or gatherings, Roman stressed. The project is one that the community and “BCHS seniors and families can enjoy while strolling or driving by the library.”
For more information, check out the Facebook page here.
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