By Kim Weicht

Guest columnist

— It is no secret that we have all experienced losses with these COVID-19 shutdowns. However, I feel it is important to acknowledge the loss of significant rites of passage for all 2020 graduates, whether from high school or college. Their families are experiencing the loss as well.

Senior year for a high school student is their last chance to make memories that will last their lifetime. It is their year to celebrate all their hard work and achievements. It is their year to spend precious time celebrating with their friends and saying their goodbyes. It is their year to close the door on their childhood and launch themselves into their first years of adulthood. Graduation is the ceremony that awards them with their diplomas — the result  of 13 years of hard work, dedication and determination.

For the parents and guardians, their child’s senior year is the year we get to watch our babies enjoy their lasts; their last sporting events, their last band and choir performances, their last prom, their last moments with their childhood friends. Graduation is the ceremony that awards us with the acknowledgement of a job well done, not only by our kids but us as parents too. It is one of the largest moments of pride you experience as a parent. Many celebrate with open houses to take one last walk through all the things our kids experienced and achieved while they were kids. It is one last celebration to close one door and immediately open another.

This year, the 2020 graduates and their families have been robbed. However, in Charlotte, we found a few ways to tell our CHS Class of 2020 that their 13-year school career mattered and did not go unnoticed.

The 175 yard signs displayed on the courthouse lawn were organized by a couple of senior moms and was made possible by the Charlotte Rotary Club, Charlotte Athletic Boosters, Charlotte Band Boosters, Charlotte Optimist Club, Insty-Prints Downtown Lansing and the Courthouse Square Association. These signs are a tribute to our CHS Class of 2020 in celebration of their efforts and accomplishments. We thank all who made this display possible, and we appreciate the community in advance for enjoying and respecting this display through the end of May, at which time the students will take their signs home with them.

The “Adopt a Senior” Facebook page was created and maintained by a few senior moms. This national project has been a wonderful way to support and encourage our CHS Class of 2020. It is amazing to read about what these students have accomplished so far and what they aim to do in their future. The support this project has received is overwhelming. The seniors and their families greatly appreciate the generosity of the Charlotte community. This page will be up until early June. Please feel free to take a look and participate if you’d like. The name of the Facebook page is “Charlotte Graduating Seniors 2020 Adoption.”

Our local businesses have been proud supporters of the CHS Class of 2020. Please see the displays available at the Eaton Theatre, Evelyn Bay, Eaton Federal Savings Bank, The County Journal, Reflections Boutique, Tropical Tanning and McDonald’s. Many thanks to all of you for making our seniors feel special!

Special thanks go out to the following: Judy Willison, Leslie Rehard, and Jennifer Bruce Lamoreaux for their countless hours of work on the yard sign display and the Adopt a Senior project; Julie Kimmer, Melissa Bohus, Christina Peña, Kari Oudsema and Sara Driver for putting up and maintaining the yard signs; Mike Bruce for his endless work for this community; Jeff Bohl and Sharee Burdick for helping us to spread the word for these projects to every senior; and the many parents and community members that helped spread the word as well and who will undoubtedly help to keep these signs safe.

To the CHS Class of 2020, know that you matter, you are amazing and that you have a whole community that supports you, encourages you and wishes you nothing but success and happiness. Never forget us, your hometown, as we will surely never forget you.


Photo by Cindy Gaedert-Gearhart

Courthouse Square is shown decorated with the names of graduating seniors.