This certainly is not the typical graduation year for the class of 2020. No, this graduating class has missed many of the events that create life-long memories because of the COVID-19 pandemic that closed schools since mid-March.
Districts and communities, though, are stepping up to try and make a memorable end to the school year.
Eileen Patterson, co-owner of Track 7 Postal Center in Warwick, is one of those community members. Many would agree she has succeeded. It was Patterson who suggested and helped create the Class of 2020 banners that are displayed at the intersection of Route 94 and County Route 1 in Warwick.
In late April, Patterson contacted the administrators at both Warwick High School – her home district - and John S. Burke Catholic High School – the school from which her older children graduated and her youngest one attends - with an idea to honor the 2020 graduates with banners for each of them. The banners would be displayed so that the community can be part of the celebration. The result has been very well received.
She got the idea from a Facebook post sent to her from her sister showing pictures of graduates in a Pennsylvania district displayed on a main street. She liked the tribute so she designed banners and sent them to the administrators at both Warwick and Burke. They liked the idea, too.
“A big thanks to Eileen Patterson Track 7 Postal Service - incredible job and very generous. Without Eileen Patterson, this project doesn't happen,” Warwick Valley Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach posted on the district’s Facebook page. “Warwick is such a beautiful, caring community.”
Patterson donated her design time and printed the banners at her cost. The posts were provided, also at cost, by Wadeson’s, with the town and village of Warwick, the Police Benevolent Association and Ed Mullins’s Minturn Food Truck Park paying for them.
The town’s Department of Public Works and the school district installed the 300 plus Warwick banners, creating a breath-taking display. It is illuminated each evening.
“None of this is a surprise really,” said Patterson. “Warwick is an incredible community. It makes me so happy to bring some joy to these kids and their families.”