Everyday Heroes

Wait Until You See A Principal’s Epic Tribute To The Class Of 2020

His heartfelt message to this year's seniors will leave you teary-eyed.

As the coronavirus lockdown continues, graduating seniors are faced with the harsh reality that they might not get to celebrate their academic achievements, at least not in the way they may have wanted to.

Commencement ceremonies have been cancelled; graduation parties postponed – it's enough to make even the most positive students lose their pep.

That's what inspired the principal at Apex Friendship High School in Apex, NC to come up with a unique way to commemorate the class of 2020, even if he most likely won't get to honor them in person.

"Not being able to hand out diplomas to those kids individually just left me kind of empty feeling," Wight told WRAL-TV.

Like many schools across the country, Apex Friendship HS has postponed this year's commencement ceremony for graduating seniors. YouTube

Wight took that sadness and channeled into a project that would be a tribute to this year's graduating seniors. Using an empty hallway in the high school as a canvas, Wight got to work writing all of the 590 students' names on the wall with a black Sharpie marker.

c/o Sydney Turner

Wight said they were reserving the wall for a mural, but he thought that using the space to celebrate the class of 2020 would be a great project.

Apex HS Principal Matt Wight wrote 590 names to honor the graduating students at his school. YouTube

Wight got the idea from a video he saw online of a high school principal in a different state who did a similar project for seniors at his school.

"As soon as I saw the video I knew what I had to do," Wight said.

It took Wight about 10 hours over the span of several days to fill the empty wall with almost 600 names. He used a ladder and a ruler to make sure the names were spaced neatly and evenly, giving the mural a professional, and heartfelt, look.

The wall took over 10 hours to create. YouTube

Sydney Turner, a senior at Apex, worked with Wight to create a touching video about the project, and to celebrate the graduating class.

"It's really good," Wight said of the video. "It seemed to me that that was fitting for her to be able to take part in it, because she was so invested."

The video includes a personal message from Wight to the seniors, along with stunning footage of his name-writing project. The video ends with Wight dressed in a graduation gown, holding a diploma.

Principal Wight worked with senior Sydney Turner to create a video documenting the project. YouTube

He speaks to the camera directly: "So, class of 2020, it's my hope and prayer that I'll be able to hand you your diploma personally, but until then this is my tribute. This is my gift to you."

Here are some other ways seniors are being honored during lockdown: From Social Distance Proms To Social Media Salutes: Celebrating the "Coronavirus" Class Of 2020

What a sweet and creative way to celebrate the students who are missing out on such an important milestone. We can't wait to see how the faculty at other schools will celebrate the class of 2020. They certainly deserve it!

We hope all of the seniors get the chance to celebrate their achievements this year. @AFHSClassof2020

How can you start something good?

Inspired by Principal Wight's epic tribute to the class of 2020?

Why not plan your own special event for high school graduates in your neck of the woods? You can help organize a car parade, bake cookies for a senior you know, or just take part in what folks in your district might already have planned.

In my neighborhood people are making signs for the graduating class and sticking them in their front yards – that's an easy (and safe) way to show your support!

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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