Community looks to raise funds for BHS Class of 2021 graduate signs

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BURRILLVILLE – It’s an effort to acknowledge graduating Burrillville High School seniors, born out of pandemic-related restrictions, that just might become a new Bronco tradition.

An effort to raise funds to create signs acknowledging each member of the Class of 2021 started earlier this month has already raised $2,245.

In 2020, amid missed experiences for a class of students whose time together was cut short by restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, parents of two graduates raised money to have signs erected on the front lawn of the high school. The unique parent-organized tribute raised $6,650 in just 48 hours, and led to photographs of 173 2020 graduates smiling down at passersby on East Avenue.

The students themselves decided to write messages for their classmates on the back of the signs, a bonus that effectively replaced traditional yearbook signing. The weather-proof signs were left up for several weeks and then given to the 2020 seniors.

Burrillville School Committee members discussed the effort at their meeting this week.

“When we were kids you signed your yearbook,” said member Sean Bouzan. “There were a lot of kids who were actually going around and putting some nice things on the back of the portraits.”

Committee Chairman Alexandra LeClaire noted that the poster signing provides an opportunity to say a distanced ‘goodbye,’ for those still learning from home.

“If kids are still doing BDLA and they want to give their final farewell to their classmates, that would be awesome,” said LeClaire.

This year, parent Lee O’Connor is leading the effort, with a fundraiser published on GoFundMe.

“We are so proud of these seniors,” wrote O’Connor. “They have worked so very hard these past four years…overcoming so many challenges.”

O’Connor needs to raise roughly $4,200 to create the 2’X3′ posters for all 171 members of the Class of 2021.

“I’d like to see it,” said Bouzan. “My hopes is we continue what I’m looking at as a tradition, which is putting our senior pictures out on the front lawn.”

“I thought it looked great when you went by last year,” said Committee member Terri Lacey.

Bouzan said he’s hopeful that in the future, the district could help to fund the effort, or find a parent willing to run the project every year.

“Yes, last year was different, and this year a little bit better, but still different,” said Bouzan. “I think it would be a great tradition.”      

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