MOUNT MORRIS – On Sunday, May 24, when Oregon High School graduates should have been donning their caps and gowns and gathering for commencement ceremonies, a small group of workers were throwing a sign party in their honor at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Trinity had put out a call for signs celebrating area graduates with a promise to install any sign they received on their front lawn along East Brayton Road. The goal was simple, to let those completing high school, college, nursing school, or training know that their achievements were praiseworthy, and they were not forgotten, even if the formal ceremonies needed to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Volunteers arrived at Trinity at 1 p.m. Sunday and began staking, stapling, and tying down cardboard, plywood, handmade and print shop quality signs across their property. Observing all appropriate social distancing protocols, they wore their masks and stayed apart from each other while completing their tasks. Neighbors drove by and waved, and a few stopped to ask about the project and to take pictures.
Calling it #CongrattheGrads2020, the effort was coordinated by Pastor Josh and Melissa Nicholson, Trinity’s Christian Education Director. Using social media, Trinity Lutheran Church encouraged people across Mt Morris to put signs or balloons on their lawns and in their windows to celebrate area graduates.
“We cannot pretend to imagine the frustration our graduates might be feeling,” Pastor Josh said. “Commencement is the day of the school year when students are recognized for what they have accomplished, they can share a sense of completion, and be encouraged by the entire community as they take their next steps in life. We simply wanted to let all of our graduates know that we are praying for them and are proud of everything they’ve achieved.”
Though early weather reports had promised rain, the clouds stayed away for most of Sunday. The volunteers noted that they would return throughout the week to remove signs that do not survive the elements, expecting to keep the sturdier markers up for at least another week. People are encouraged to drive by or stop along East Brayton Road and walk around the property to enjoy the signs.