WESTFIELD – Although graduation ceremonies will take place this summer, members of the Class of 2020 missed out on many events including proms and senior week activities.
On June 5, when many students would have walked across a stage to receive their diploma or certificate, they were instead recognized with signs on Park Square Green.
The downtown park was covered with signs, 456 to be exact, featuring the name and photo of every graduate of St. Mary’s High School, Westfield High School and Westfield Technical Academy.
The tribute was organized by parents and school staff. Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski said many parents discussed posting signs on seniors’ laws and he thought having them displayed downtown would be a way “to ensure that all seniors were property recognized.”
The signs were placed on the gree Friday morning by Czaporowski, Westfield High Principal Chuck Jendrysik, Westfield Technical Academy Principal Joseph Langone, St. Mary’s High School Principal Matt Collins, and staff and administrators throughout the district, including Kevin Daley, Rob Ollari, Christal Murphy, Kevin Zdroykowski, Peter Taloumis, Julie Schortmann, Susan Dargie, Denise Ruszala, Chris Rogers and parent Doug Morash.
“This is typically senior week for our students,” said Czaporowski. “In fact, yesterday and today would have been graduation. Getting the signs up this week was important for that reason. Since we were not able to have our usual events, it is my hope that the signs placed on the green will let our seniors know that we are thinking of them while we await graduation on July 30 and July 31. It was also important to recognize every senior.”
For Westfield High School senior Nancy Rodriguez, the signs were heartfelt.
“It’s exciting to see them,” she said while walking through the park with her family Friday afternoon. “I feel the school is doing a lot to make up for all of this.”
Her mother Jessica Rodriguez agreed.
“They’re definitely getting a lot of recognition – it’s nice.”
Jean Reopel walked among the signs and took photos of her son’s smiling face on his sign.
“I think it’s fabulous,” she said. “It doesn’t take the place of Senior Week, but it gives the kids accolades and recognition.”