High school staff visits homes of all its seniors to unite them during pandemic

Knightdale High School’s seniors got a personal reminder Monday that they’re not forgotten during a school year that has been torn apart by the coronavirus.

Administrators and teachers visited the homes of all 383 Knightdale High seniors Monday afternoon to deliver yard signs telling them they’re “Always uKNIGHTed Seniors.” Honking horns on vehicles with signs congratulating the graduation seniors announced their arrival in the neighborhoods.

“This is just one gesture to let our seniors know that we are thinking of them, and their accomplishment of completing high school will be celebrated, just differently,” said Knightdale High principal Keith Richardson.

The closure of school since mid-March due to COVID-19 has dramatically altered how the school year is ending for the Class of 2020.

The state changed graduation requirements to help seniors by saying they’d get a passing grade for a class if they were passing as of March 13.

But events such as proms were canceled and graduation ceremonies are uncertain.

“My senior year is pretty much gone,” said Esmeralda Acosta, 18, a Knightdale High senior. “I can’t experience a lot of things that other seniors experience.”

Wake County school leaders say they’ll let families know within the next two weeks how graduations will be held this year. Options include moving the ceremonies to later this year or switching to virtual ceremonies.

In the meantime, schools have looked for ways to recognize the hard work of their seniors. Apex Friendship High principal Matt Wight wrote the names of all 590 graduating seniors on a wall in the school as part of a tribute video posted on YouTube.

At Knightdale High, Richardson said he was inspired after hearing on social media about how other schools put up yard signs. He enlisted the help of 45 teachers and administrators to work in small groups to deliver the signs Monday.

School staff, some of whom were wearing face masks, were encouraged to maintain social distancing from the families during the visits.

“This is a little something to celebrate you, OK?” Richardson said to Ty’Shaun Watson, 18, and his mother, Charlene. “We can’t do much right now, but we’re doing the best we can. Put it out on your yard and let everyone know you have a senior here.”

The visit left the Watson feeling feeling moved.

“It shows that they really missed us and wished we were there and cared about us,” Ty’Shaun said.

Richardson had teased online last week that some something special was coming. But Monday’s visits still came as a surprise for students and their parents.

“It pretty much surprised me because everything was pretty much canceled,” said Jonathan Wilson, 17, a senior. “It was sweet that he took his time to come and see all the seniors.”

their child on the phone.

Monday’s visit won’t erase all that the seniors have lost. But the visit is something the seniors and their parents say they won’t forget.

“It made me cry,” said Montrecia Wilson, Jonathan’s mother. “It was a big surprise. It meant a lot because their senior year is ruined. It meant a lot to make them feel special. “