They have lost enough.
They have sacrificed enough.
That’s what Ecorse Public Schools officials believe about their students, and they wanted to do something about it.
In a Google survey, Ecorse students were asked if they could have one thing for a senior send off, what would it be.
The overwhelming response — a graduation ceremony.
They asked for it, and they’re going to get it.
District officials are coordinating what they are calling a “drive-thru graduation ceremony” for more than 130 graduating seniors.
The senior graduation ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. June 12 at Ecorse High School on the Outer Drive side of the building.
Their graduation day originally was set for June 10, but since the forecast called for rain showers, it was moved back two days in an effort to give the students the best day possible.
Students will line up in the parking lot and come through a circle area where a stage has been set up for them.
They will have their name called, and then walk across the stage as parents, family and friends look on.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that abruptly shut down schools, ending sports competitions, proms, graduations and more, the Ecorse Board of Education decided to move forward with the plan.
School Supt. Josha Talison said the virus changed everything so quickly for schools and they had to figure out how to switch gears fast.
“There is no college class that tells you what to do in case of a pandemic,” he said, laughing.
Nevertheless, he saw a school district in Flint that had the name of each graduate on a lawn sign and thought that was a fantastic idea.
But, Talison decided to take it one step further for Ecorse students.
The picture of each student in cap and gown also is on the lawn sign.
The signs will be placed along 19th Street all the way to the high school.
Two board members have agreed to put the 134 signs in place for the day.
Each student will be able to take their sign home after the ceremony.
A lot went into getting them ready.
“These kids have been through a lot, so we wanted to go above and beyond for them,” Talison said. “When I saw the lawn signs, I said we have to do it for our kids. It usually takes two weeks for it to get done, but I said I need them in a week.”
Talison said the company got it done and believes they look even better than he imagined they would.
Along with the picture of the graduate, the sign also says, "Through adversity, through uncertainty — we persevered.”
“They are beautiful,” the superintendent said of the signs.
More than anything, Talison said, officials want students to know they are loved and appreciated.
There will be a red carpet rolled out for the students and balloon arches for them to walk through during the ceremony.
In an effort to give the students most everything a traditional graduation would offer, the speeches from the valedictorian and salutatorian will be posted on the school district’s Facebook page, as well as the city’s website.
And just in case there remains any doubt that they are celebrated by this school district, a billboard sits high in the sky on Southfield Road near I-75 that salutes the entire graduating class of 2020 and has the district’s logo on it.
Talison said all of this was done to give the students their “once in a lifetime” experience, and he believes they are going to accomplish that.