'We Rise!' Vernon volunteers honor the Class of 2020

Vernon. COVID-19 has derailed many of the joys of being a high school senior. A group of volunteers is working hard to make sure this year's Vernon Township High School graduates are recognized for their years of study and achievement.

05 May 2020 | 10:10

“So here we are," said Justine Van Blarcom. "We decided to go big."

Van Blarcom, whose daughter Hannah is a Vernon Township High School senior, is the point person organizing a townwide tribute to the school’s Class of 2020.

Van Blarcom had 227 lawn signs, creatively designed by graphic designer Dawn DiMartino, made for each member of the senior class.

“Signs were purchased by students’ parents," Van Blarcom said. "Several people of the community and several high school teachers sponsored other signs so that no senior was left out."

Signs are displayed at students' homes to remind everyone passing by of their great accomplishments.

The effort snowballed when senior class advisor Kathy Weyant asked Van Blarcom if she wanted to decorate the center island on Route 515 with flowers in the high school colors as well as personal signs for every student featuring their senior class photo. Kelly Mitchell, a member of both the Vernon Township Board of Education member and town beautification committee, is also instrumental in the decorating project.

In the works is a senior tribute graduation banner, which will be on display at the Vernon Fire Department in mid-May.

All signs, banners, and decorations will remain up until “graduation day” when the personal signs will be transferred to line the driveway of the high school. After that, each student will take their sign home to celebrate the occasion with their families.

“These kids are truly hurting and have had so many things stolen from them because of COVID-19 in regards to their senior year,” said Van Blarcom. “We all just want them to feel loved and supported.”

“These kids are truly hurting and have had so many things stolen from them because of COVID-19 in regards to their senior year. We all just want them to feel loved and supported.” --Justine Van Blarcom