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C.O. high schools honor seniors with ‘Friday Night Lights’

C.O. high schools honor seniors with 'Friday Night Lights'

The message to students: You're not on campus, but not forgotten

(Update: adding video, comments from Bend HS principal, Summit HS senior)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Classrooms are closed, hallways are empty and fields are locked. High schools in Central Oregon would normally be packed with students and administrators as the academic year draws to a close, but the coronavirus has created other plans.

Students can no longer sit next to their best friend in class. They cannot compete against other schools in sporting events. Most students will return for another year, but the seniors are watching their high school careers come to an unusual end.

That's why several Central Oregon high schools have come up with a way to show all students and faculty, and especially the senior class, that, while they may be gone from campus, they are not forgotten.

Every Friday night, through the end of the school year, stadium lights will turn on at 8:20 p.m., which of course is 20:20 military time.

They'll burn one minute for every day of school missed.

Bend Senior High Principal Christopher Reese said, "In these unprecedented times, in these uncharted waters that we're trying to navigate, my goal is to make sure that we leave no Lava Bear behind, and that we truly represent and honor this senior class in the way that they deserve to be honored."

Evan Brown, the boys varsity basketball head coach at Madras High School, spearheaded this celebration in Central Oregon. Now, 92 high schools across the state are joining the movement.

While everyone is socially distancing, communities are still to coming together for seniors like Nate Peterson, who attended Summit High School.

"I had friends last year and they told me all about the last few months of senior year and said it was like the best time in high school,” Peterson told NewsChannel 21. “I guess most seniors in the nation just don't get to experience that anymore."

It's a quiet tribute with a loud message: “Thank you to the Class of 2020.”

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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.


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