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The group does something special for the class of 2021 every week during the last 21 weeks of school

COURTESY PHOTO: RACHEL STEVENSON - The parent group hopes all seniors get a chance to sign the banner. The West Linn class of 2020 missed out on the second half of its senior activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures.

With the class of 2021 slated to miss all of them, a group of parents decided not to let that happen.

Rachel Stevenson and Amanda Curdy, who both have seniors at WLHS, run the committee that plans and raises funds for the senior graduation night.

"There was a group within our group that said, 'we've got to do something,'" Stevenson said.

She said she's witnessed an understandable lack of motivation from the students.

"There are so many unknowns. Focusing on the future is really hard," Stevenson said.

She said that since the typical rites of passage aren't happening, it's harder to process and even celebrate this last bit of high school.

"We need to give them something to look forward to," she said.

The parents started organizing COVID-friendly events for the last 21 weeks of the school year.

Stevenson said the weekly event is usually a drawing or a giveaway; students can enter by answering polling questions on the group's social media page.

Last week they gave away two WLHS swag baskets.

And then around the 21st of every month, they try to host something in person.

Curdy said their most recent event was a doughnut pop-up. Seniors could drive by and get a doughnut and cocoa and sign a class of 2021 banner that the group purchased.

They plan to tote the banner to every event with the hopes of getting everyone in the senior class to sign it.

Curdy said the goal behind these events is to keep the students connected and give them a sense of celebration for their senior year.

"We need to really step up and celebrate them," Curdy said.

The group currently is planning a senior lunch at a park that will include a food cart and dessert bar. The details have yet to be ironed out.

The thing is, all of this costs money.

"Most of our traditional ways that our community is used to us raising money can no longer happen," Stevenson said.

In past years they've held holiday open house tours and raffles at sporting events, both of which brought in a lot of fundraising for senior festivities.

This year they've had to hold smaller and often virtual events. They held a cookie fundraiser and virtual 5K, but more support is still needed.

Stevenson and Curdy gave a big shout out to their current corporate sponsors. They said they're still looking for private donations and corporate sponsorships to help them celebrate and recognize this year's senior class.

The community also can help by selecting "West Linn HS Substance Free Grad Party" on their AmazonSmiles account. Shopping this way donates a portion of the proceeds to the grad party fundraiser. The community also can participate in a monthly dine out fundraiser.

This month, Spectator Pizza and Pub will donate 10% of all sales, all day, for each Wednesday in February to the WLHS Grad Party. Pre-orders are welcome.

Visit the group's website for more details.


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