Taking a spin down Scotts Valley Drive, may have noticed new friendly faces in passing.  While the seniors of Scotts Valley High School haven’t gathered altogether in person since March, their yearbook photos are currently chumming it up with fellow passerby thanks to the Scotts Valley High School Parent Club. Two instrumental members of the installation, Jane McElrone, Club President, and Carolyn Auman, member, had much to say and more to thank regarding the congratulatory banners.

Although both Parent Club members are proud moms of SVHS seniors, Auman mused, “I’m not sure [our graduating kids] drove the project for us. We were all really disappointed as a community, watching things unfold in March, like everybody else.  We watched schools get paused and had to decide what activities we could still do. Graduation Night, Prom, an annual trip, senior breakfast, all of the rites of passage quickly went from pause to cancelation.  We were scrambling for ideas to recognize our seniors.  We (22 members of the club) began our efforts with the delivery of 209 yard signs for graduating seniors. Afterwards, we were still looking for ways to congratulate our seniors.”

Auman soon heard that Davis High School had put up banners on their main street to honor their high school seniors.  “I thought, ‘They’re a small town like us and we could do this too!’” However, as the Parent Club planned, they quickly encountered a speed bump, “We weren’t inspired by Davis, California (with about 500 graduates), we were inspired by Davis, Oklahoma (with only 59 grads). So, what we thought was going to be a really simple project, was much larger than it seemed.”

Instead of going back to the drawing board, The Parent Club decided a bigger project, just needed a few more hands.  Over the coming months, they coordinated with many SV entities, including Scotts Valley High School, the superintendent, the City Council and Manager, public utilities, police, parents, and other local businesses. The Parent Club raised more than 8,000 dollars for the project via GoFundMe, to cover the banners and installation equipment.  Over 100 families and 13 businesses contributed money and effort to pull together the project.  In particular, three businesses pulled off immense amounts of work for the project.  Each photograph had to be retouched and reformatted by Covello & Covello Photography, Hudson Construction donated 6 hours of installation and machinery, to hang the banners printed by Art & Display, Inc.  Auman expressed her gratitude, “We used so many local people, and if they didn’t donate their time, they’ve certainly made a generous contribution of time and resources.”

Aside from external volunteers, Auman was so thankful for the McElrone, the President of the Parent club.  “Jane has always been committed to leading the way, to create the best experience for our student body and parents. I’m right on board with that.  McElrone piped up, “The goal is to be inclusive of everyone,” to which Auman added, “All of our projects have been designed around inclusivity.  From A-Z, every kid was approached multiple times to get their photo taken.  Additionally, there isn’t an alphabetic map.  Of course, we want you to know where your kid is, but we want you to get to know the senior class as a whole.  We are proud of all of them.”

Ultimately, McElrone described the meaning behind the banners, “They don’t replace everything our seniors and their families have missed, but we feel it represents their perseverance, resilience, and it lets every senior know how proud we are, their families, teachers, the entire community.” Auman agreed, “You really saw the community come together and it was hungry for it.  We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the kids and the familes.  Even those who are just happy to see a spark of community uplift, this is proof of our ‘whole village’ recognizing this class.”

So, zip down Scotts Valley Drive.  Take in the friendly faces and wonder what they will accomplish next.  According to Auman, the “real” graduation is scheduled for July 2nd.  You can find more information on the Parent Club at https://svhs-scottsvalley-ca.schoolloop.com/parentclub

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