By: Jen Russon
For high school seniors, pomp and unusual circumstance due to COVID-19 have meant a traditional graduation ceremony this summer just isn’t possible, however, making happy memories still is.
“I’d say I feel for them and understand the frustration their final year is ending like this. I also recognize they are mature enough to understand this pandemic has taken so much from people around the world,” said Commissioner Joshua Simmons.
Simmons, a history teacher at Coral Springs High School, said he got an idea from State Senator Bobby Powell, Jr. on what he could do to let his own seniors know he empathizes with them.
On their Facebook pages, Powell and Simmons both posted an open invitation to graduating seniors in their cities.
They said they would love to write letters of congratulations to students who worked hard years to finally receive a high school diploma.
“As a teacher with seniors, I understand this is not the sendoff they wanted, but I would like to send them some words of encouragement on their well-earned moment,” added Simmons.
The letters would be official correspondence from city hall, and would simply offer words of encouragement, and a congratulatory message for the students on their big day.
He said that since he posted this last week, he has received a number of emails from a few parents and students, but he hopes for more between now and mid-June when virtual graduation ceremonies in Broward County commence.
“These students have worked their whole lives for this moment, and I want to help honor their achievement,” he said.
Offering no spoilers, Simmons explained his letter would be constructed in the same way he addressed his seniors in the classroom, when they were still regularly attending classes through March 13.
“I thought that this was right up my alley as far as how I like to be of service to the city,” he said.
If you would like your graduating senior to receive a letter from Commissioner Simmons, email him the student’s full name, the name of the high school he or she attends, and an address.
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- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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