HEUVELTON — Visitors driving down the main thoroughfare in the village will be able to see the faces of the graduating seniors at Heuvelton Central School on banners, thanks to a village-wide fundraising effort.
One of the organizers of the project, Renee M. Palmer, a 1988 graduate, said it really is a community effort to acknowledge the 42 members of the Class of 2021, a group of teenagers who have dealt with a school year overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The installation of banners on State Street poles of the graduating seniors is becoming a new tradition in the village. In 2020, during school closures and state-mandated restrictions on graduations, the community rallied to give banners to 36 seniors that year and “the community and students loved it,” according to Palmer.
“I think people just enjoy driving down State Street and seeing the photos of the kids. We were just looking for a way to recognize the seniors last year because we felt they were missing out on so much due to COVID,” Palmer said. “Little did we know that this year’s students would miss out on so much more. We would like to keep doing this every year if possible, just to show all of the seniors how proud we are of their accomplishments.”
Palmer, who is a volunteer photographer for athletics and other school and village activities, said the Heuvelton community is a “very tight knit group” and that the businesses and residents have rallied to support not just the seniors but all of the students.
“Whenever there is a fundraiser for the students or any local activity we always have a great response,” she said.
That support from the community does not go unnoticed, according to Heuvelton Central School Superintendent Jesse C. Coburn.
“Heuvelton families, businesses and community members have always shown tremendous support for our students and school. The increased hardship faced by everyone during the pandemic hasn’t changed that a bit. The generosity might take different forms now, but the support is unwavering, and so appreciated. It’s a great message to the seniors that the pride and support of the whole community is behind them,” Coburn said.
The banners were purchased through $20 sponsorships that were put towards their final goal of $2,400, which paid for the banners, as well as more brackets and hardware for the poles to accommodate the larger class and to broken brackets.
The banners were installed by the Heuvelton Village Department of Public Works that consists of Superintendent Tim Murray, Keith Kelley and Al Spaman. The banners will stay up throughout the summer.