Teachers and staff at Bluffton High School dusted off their stealth skills on April 9 and pulled a senior prank. But in this role reversal, the surprise was for their students.
Over the course of a day, the adults put up signs in the front yards of the school’s 233 seniors in a mostly covert operation.
Principal Denise Donica ordered the signs, which read “Bluffton High School Senior Lives Here” and included the school’s Bobcat logo, to put a little celebration back into the lives of students who will graduate this year.
"At first, nobody really saw us doing it,"said Bluffton High guidance counselor Kelly Homan, who organized 10 co-workers to help with the project. "As the morning went on, kids were waiting for us at their doors. Their friends told them what we were doing."
Football coaches John Houpt and Bryant Kitty, guidance counselors Dana House and Katlyn McCormick and others divided up the neighborhoods and charmed security guards at private communities to complete their mission. Senior class vice-president Rachel Richardson, who will attend Charleston Southern University, said the gesture touched the students.
"Every though we’re not together, the teachers and the staff have showed us that they really care and they’re still here for us," Richardson said. "A lot of events we should be experiencing have been cancelled. But the signs told us, ‘You’re still a senior. You still matter. Don’t get discouraged."
Chloe Parish, a senior who lives in Hidden Lakes, said she thought the signs were “cool” and was completely surprised. Beaufort County School District students are on spring break this week. They and their families are waiting to find out whether school will resume this year or learning will continue online. Currently, classes and extra-curricular activities are cancelled statewide until April 30. Prom has been tentatively rescheduled for May 30, but this could change.
Homan said she wasn’t sure if Bluffton High will do anything else to celebrate its students while the Lowcountry waits for the danger of COVID-19 to wane.
"I’m not 100 percent sure what Denise [Donica] has in her mind. It’s always going," Homan said.