Poplar Springs -- Poplar Springs High School Principal Farica West was determined, no matter how many obstacles the COVID-19 pandemic threw her way, she was going to giver her 2020 seniors a send off they would never forget.
When Florida announced before Spring Break that they would keep students from being able to return to school for at least a month and and now for the end of the school year, the words hit West like a dagger to the abdomen she said. West said she has 30 seniors in her small school that would now never get to experience that wonderful joy of finishing out the school year together. Because of something completely out of their control, she said they have been robbed of that special joy.
So thinking back on a memorable event she remembered, she decided to give the students a momentous memory that would be unique to their graduating class alone.
"I decided to have these gigantic banners created of each individual students class portraits to be placed on the drive leading into the school for them and all in the community to see when the drive into the school," West said.
West not only did this for the students she said, but everyone in the community.
"I wanted to give the students and the community hope," she said. This is a community school. It’s our community treasure. We have generations who have come back to events with happy memories. I do not want the class of 2020 to come back years down the road with their families and have sad memories."
West said after she came up with the idea, she contacted a former student who created the banners and delivered them to her home in secret. She said no one knew of West’s plan except her husband and she didn’t expect the response it would get.
"We have had 450 shares of the pictures nationwide from our Facebook page and I have people from Texas and Vermont wanting information on them for their students." she said.
West said as she sits in her office people drive by to look at the banner. To the community, it is like the "Field of Dreams."
While West is happy the banners have made such a big impact to the community, ultimately she said the goal is to bring smiles for the students.
"These students have missed so much already," she said. "They have missed senior trips, some missed the final sports events, and I wanted to give them one final memory they can cherish their entire lifetime."
Many in the community and in the nation have said, West has done just that.