By Tia Lynn Ivey
When the school bells rang and Morgan County students left their classrooms to go home on Friday, March 13, they never dreamed it would the last time they walked those halls this school year.
Morgan County school officials closed the school in mid-March, hoping to return in early April. Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19, the highly contagious and potentially lethal upper-respiratory coronavirus, Gov. Brian Kemp announced on April 2 that schools would be closed for the rest of the year.
Local educators, students and parents are mourning the news, as students will not be able to finish the academic year with their friends, teachers, and school leaders. The news is especially disheartening for Morgan County seniors who will not return next year, concluding their time at Morgan County High School and forgoing the traditional milestones families look forward to: spring sports, band performances, prom, and a May graduation ceremony.
However, Morgan County school leaders are determined to remind seniors of all they have accomplished and that their achievements are celebrated.
MCHS Principal Dr. Miki Edwards teamed up Susan Beasley, the high school’s bookkeeper, Tara Delaigle, the school’s yearbook advisor, and Senior Counselor Erica Murdock to pull off a surprise for the Class of 2020 called “Operation Secret Sign.”
The school produced individual yard signs for graduating seniors and teachers personally delivered them to each student’s home.
“While we are saddened that we won’t end this school year together like we usually do, we know that keeping our students, faculty, staff, and their families safe is what we must do,” said Dr. Edwards. “A school is truly a community of people and we miss the regular contact that we have with one another. What is important to know is that the 2020 school year isn’t over. Our teachers are working very hard to stay connected with students and to create and provide all sorts of learning and communication opportunities to bridge students through this time. Whether it is delivering food and materials, creating videos, hosting virtual meetings, or calling just to check in, I couldn’t be prouder of this faculty and staff. They have embraced ‘learning through’ this together.”
School leaders are still working to find a way to have a graduation ceremony, even if it’s not a traditional event or if the date and time has to be postponed. In the meantime, Operation Secret Sign was just the surprise Morgan County seniors and their families needed to feel celebrated and connected during this time of nationwide social distancing and self-isolation.
“I am very proud of Dr. Miki Edwards and her team,” said Dr. James Woodard, superintendent of schools. “I appreciate their heart for service. They orchestrated the entire event and I believe it was perfect timing.”