Lacie Davenport wanted to do something creative for the Tahlequah High School senior class of 2020.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it’s had on schools and all the senior activities that normally take place, Davenport didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to salute the new graduates.
Davenport, who is Tahlequah Public Schools Family and Community Engagement director, got together with Tahlequah Main Street Director Jamie Hale to float an idea.
She wanted to paint the town in support.
Many businesses in the downtown area now have their windows painted with orange congratulatory messages. The project started to take shape on Monday, May 18.
“This is a great way for our community to show support during this time,” Hale said.
The two were trying to think how they could support the young people in any possible way, Davenport said.
“I was brainstorming with our high school curriculum director, DeAnn Mashburn, and I was like, ‘Hey, you know I’ve noticed at NSU sometimes during homecoming, they paint the town, and it just feels good. It feels like school spirit," Davenport said. "What if we tried to do that for our seniors?’"
So she called Hale and asked her how to make it happen.
"I said, ‘Can you get permission from the businesses if I can get the paint and the painters?’ That’s exactly what she did," said Davenport. "She and I just worked together, and she kind of got the businesses on board and we got the painters and the paint.”
Art teachers at THS did the paintings. Each senior was also given a yard sign that reads, "Tahlequah High School Seniors Class of 2020 Forever Roar!"
“We just wanted to honor these seniors,” Davenport said. “Our seniors are so special, and it doesn’t feel like we’ve been able to promote them as much, and so that’s what we did."
She asked that anybody with a billboard put "Congratulations, seniors" on it.
"We also had some extra yard signs – just trying to find some school spirit for our seniors," she said.
THS will hold a virtual graduation at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 22 on Facebook Live.
“It’s going to be virtual, but we were still trying to make graduation week kind of special for them,” Davenport said. “Of course, the hope is still to have an actual graduation in July, but there’s no guarantee on that.”