Community Members and Groups Celebrating the Class of 2020
Today’s SJA Shining Stars are community members who went above and beyond to help us celebrate the Class of 2020. These individuals and groups allowed us to create an even more memorable experience for our graduating seniors than would have been possible on our own.
Now that summer is in full swing, we have enjoyed looking back at the end of the school year and the special celebrations that were held for the SJA Class of 2020. The following are some of the Shining Stars who truly made their graduation experience special.
Gerald (Buddy) Chapman ’89 created an amazing 2020 sign that stood on Brantview Lawn throughout the graduation festivities. Standing at 12 feet tall, the sign was visible to all who drove through campus. It was a nice surprise for the seniors and many took the opportunity to have photos taken with it. The sign was made out of spray foam. Buddy free hand sprayed out each number on a flatbed trailer and then built bracing to stand each number up. Mat Roy ’18, one of his employees, helped him put the numbers up on campus. Buddy and his wife Shannon own New England Foam and Coating, Inc., which has been in St. Johnbury for 19 years. Their daughter Sadie graduated this year from SJA.
Ian ’98 and Cari Melkonian Carlet ‘96, owners of Locally Social Coffee in St. Johnsbury, provided a free beverage of choice to graduating seniors from SJA. They gave away around 60 drinks. They also created a memorable poster having each person who stopped in sign their name. This was then donated to SJA for display. When asked about the special offering, Cari shared, “This was an incredibly unique year and we decided to do this to show the kids how special they are and how proud we are of them. We never heard a complaint from the students – they showed moxey and deserved to be recognized!”
The Town of St. Johnsbury, and especially Town Manager Chad Whitehead, were extremely helpful with organizing the Sunday night parade and festivities. These events would not have been possible without their support. Chad was instrumental in getting the parade permit and setting up with the police and fire departments. Their work allowed us to think outside the box and create a meaningful evening for our graduates.
The St. Johnsbury Police Department support helped make the Sunday night events run smoothly and safely, so we could focus on the fun and celebration.
Residents of Main Street put up signs all along Main Street to show their support of the seniors and many community members came out to cheer on the class during the parade.
The St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville Fire Departments created a moving display with the giant flag graduates drove under as they made their way to the fields for the movie and fireworks.
Star Theatre of St. Johnsbury donated 170 giant bags of popcorn for seniors to enjoy at the drive-in show portion of the Sunday evening festivities.
The Class of 1970, who were supposed to be celebrating their 50th reunion this year, took the opportunity to create a special video for the Class of 2020. They shared words of wisdom and highlighted the connection the seniors will have to SJA for years to come. View the video here.
Thank you to all who showed the Class of 2020 just how special they are to our community. You certainly made the celebrations shine brighter than we ever could have imagined was possible!