Parents organize monthly celebrations in place of senior traditions

Scott Reckers | Staff Writer

Graphic by Aadrija Biswas

The parents of the class of 2021 won’t let anything get in the way of their kids’ senior year.

Due to safety regulations put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are missing out on Friday night football nights, homecoming, and for athletes, a typical last year of highschool sports, among countless other traditions.

Parents did not want their seniors to have a lackluster final year, so a large group of them banded together in hopes to make this year just as special as any other for their kids. Among these parents was Robyn Welch who played a big part in making this all come to fruition. 

“It started off with a post on Facebook and I just pushed for it to be a little bit bigger and more exciting,” Welch said. “At first parents just wanted to decorate their kids’ cars [individually], but I work during the day, so I said I would come to school on my lunch break and surprise my kid. A few more parents chimed in and said that they would do that too.”

The idea to decorate cars on September 21st was perfect: it was the 21st day of the school year for the class of 2021 as well as the 21st day of the month. However, this left only four days for the parents to plan. DeAnna Malloy was also instrumental in the execution of the car decorations. Along with the very small amount of time to plan and gather supplies, there was another complication: the schedules of the parents and students. 

“We tried to have the whole morning covered, so we hit all the different times throughout the day that kids would be coming and leaving.” Malloy said. “It wasn’t perfect– we didn’t decorate every senior’s car, and not everyone is on our Facebook page, but we tried to get the word out as best we could.” 

With seniors leaving periodically throughout the day and parents at work only able to help out on their lunch break, things were difficult, but these parents adapted. 

Melissa Schubert, a language arts and social studies teacher at Mason Intermediate came across the street during her plan bell to help out with decorating. Schubert does have one of her own in the senior class, but she connects to the class of 2021 as a whole too, just as she did with last year’s seniors.

“I hope this is impacting the seniors in a positive way and helps them forget about what they’re missing,” Schubert said.

Due to the pandemic and the short amount of time in which this all transpired, these parents really had to pull together as one to achieve their goal. “I think the most impressive thing is that most of the parents have never met,” Welch said “I had never met DeAnna in person , and I still haven’t, but now we text on a regular basis, so I think it was a building experience for the parents.”

Welch wanted to make sure that 

everyone knew what was going on, so she got in contact with a local radio station and had them spread the news over their platform. “I reached out to Q102 and throughout the day I was sending them pictures of the decorated cars so they could shout us out on the show,” Welch said. “I did get feedback from them throughout the day saying it was a great idea and they were liking the pictures on Facebook.” 

Looking towards the future, Welch is hopeful for what the group will come up with next. “Right now we are very limited as we can’t get anyone in crowds and what not so a lot of the celebration will probably be outdoors and even getting stuff into the school will be difficult,” Welch said. “We are trying to be creative so this time we will definitely plan in advance and we have some support from the community so I’m sure we could get some donations and what not.”

All of this work and scrambling about was for one goal: making this year enjoyable and special for the class of 2021. Malloy, like all the other parents who helped out with this event and who plan to help with future events, feels that this is a good answer to all the cancelations that occurred due to COVID-19 safety regulations..

“We know that it is a different time and a different situation, a very unique situation and we know that you’re missing out on some stuff that is important to you guys,” Malloy said. “We want you to know that all those moms and dads still care and that we want you guys to have the best experience through some unique surprises and experiences along the way.”