By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
As school closures continue with no end in sight, some rites of passage such as proms and graduation ceremonies may not happen for high school seniors.
But a growing community effort to acknowledge the soon-to-be graduates is popping up on front lawns all over town.
At first glance they look like political signs people put in their yards in support of issues or candidates.
But on closer inspection, familiar school colors and logos appear, along with a simple “Class of 2020” message.
“It’s a way for all of us to celebrate the seniors who are having their senior year interrupted, in a way that has never happened before,” said photographer and mother Kimberly Teichrow who designed the signs.
As of today, Teichrow has sold nearly 400 Class of 2020 signs. Buyers include individuals and 13 Central Oregon schools who refuse to let their students’ achievements go unnoticed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just like seeing the signs up around town showing support,” she said.
Brenda Chastain says at first her son, Dawson, didn’t think much of the school closure. But then the prospect he might not walk across a graduation platform and be handed his diploma began to sink in.
“He said, ‘Mom, I’m missing out on prom, I’m missing out on my senior walk on graduation,’ and it’s starting to hit him. So I just want to do a little pick me up for him.”
Max Teichrow, a senior at Bend High, said he understands why the governor has closed the schools. But he’s holding out hope for some semblance of a senior tradition.
“People are trying to keep up safe. That’s their job so we’ve got to roll with punches at this point,” said Max Teichrow, a Bend High School senior. “If we can get a graduation of some sort I know that would be super special.”
The two side corrugated plastic yard signs come with a metal stake that is easy to install. They cost $25 with some of the money going to graduation parties, whether they happen on time or at a later date.
“I go back and forth. Part of me is super bummed that they are missing this. The other part of me is ‘You are living history. This is something that nobody else has done,” Chastain said. “This is kinda cool.’ But then the mom part of me is like ‘Oh you are missing out on this stuff.’ We saw your bothers do it and you don’t get to, so I go back and forth depending on the day.”
The last day to order the class of 2020 signs is Monday, April 13.
Visit https://kimberlyteichrowphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/Classof2020YardSigns/ to view and order a sign.