KENNETT SQUARE—It wasn't supposed to happen this way.
For years, Rudy Karkosak , former Kennett Consolidated School District superintendent Rudy Karkosak had envisioned his two grandsons getting their diplomas in their caps and gowns at Kennett High School. It was supposed to happen next month. Now, due to coronavirus, the seniors won't even get to see each other.
"I was talking to Dusty (Blakey, Kennett Consolidated School District superintendent), and he said he's been in education for 27 years and never saw anything like this," Karkosak said. "Well, I've been in education for 45 years and I've never seen anything like this. And I've seen a lot of crap."
But thanks to the Kennett Education Foundation, Kennett seniors found out just how much their school cares for them.
Last week, 23 Kennett High School teachers and administrators, as well as members of the Kennett Education Foundation, placed yard signs on the lawns of all 326 members of KHS’s 129th graduating class, the class of 2020. These volunteers drove district bus routes, planting the signs at the homes of seniors.
The signs, funded by a generous donation from the KEF, were lettered in Kennett blue and featured the Kennett “K” logo. Each sign procliamed Kennett Education Foundation Congratulates the Class of 2020. The reverse side of the sign offers the same good wishes in Spanish.
KEF printed a total of 400 signs, with plans to place the additional 75 signs at the high school itself, all of the district elementary schools, the middle school, the Kennett Area YMCA, the Garage Youth Center, and other businesses and locations around town, so residents are reminded of the important milestone reached by KHS seniors. And, the graduates can see tangible proof of the pride of the entire Kennett community in their achievement.
Ann Schlitz, KEF board member, saw pictures on social media of other schools across the country using signs to honor their graduates in this unprecedented time. When she approached her fellow board members with the idea to do something similar in Kennett, she “received the fastest unanimous approval ever.”
“Everyone jumped at the idea,” she said.
Senior class advisor Peggy Hughes was tasked with organizing the distribution of the signs and recruiting volunteers.
“When I asked for help, the response was overwhelming. Everyone wanted to do something. Our seniors are so loved, not just by those of us at the high school but by the whole community,” said Hughes.
Kennett High School principal Dr. Jeremy Hritz said he was proud of the community and KEF for putting a spotlight on Kennett seniors.
“We are very disappointed for our seniors for the way their year has been disrupted," Hritz said. "Honoring them with the yard signs is a way for us to let them know we are thinking about them and that we care about them."
Karkosak said about 35 people helped with the sign distribution, and 20 cars were loaded in 10 minutes.
"It was so efficient," Karkosak said. "We stood on the front steps, cars pulled up and we put (signs) in their trunks and off they want. There was social distancing, nobody got out of their cars, and everyone had gloves and masks on."
After getting his signs, Karkosak made a bee's line for his grandson Nate's house, and then to his other grandson Nate's house and got him just before he left for work.
"it was really positive and well received," Karkosak said. "They (seniors) are struggling these last couple of weeks when they could have had special activities and graduation."
Blakey said school district officials are still holding out hope for an in-person ceremony sometime late in July. He said there is also the possibility of having an in-person graduation ceremony late in July, where seniors can walk up and down the steps in their caps and gowns to receive their diplomas, depending on how the coronavirus crisis plays out.
Kennett seniors are encouraged to pose with their families in front of their sign and Tweet their photos @KCSDKennettHS.