KENT, Wash. — A Kent business is doing what it can to lift the spirits of high school seniors saddened by school closures that cut their final year of high school short.
Minuteman Press Kent is making custom signs for high school seniors with their names, high school colors, and senior class year.
Hundreds of signs now sit in the yards of families hoping to show their support.
When the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit Washington state, businesses suffered. Minuteman Press Kent owner Dawn Brown said she was forced to lay off all of her employees.
When a friend talked to her about senior signs, Brown said she knew this could be a way for her to bring her employees back to work and serve the community.
"For the seniors, they've missed something that should be very natural and normal. That process to move on has been kind of taken away from them," said Brown.
Business at Minuteman Press has picked back up, orders are trickling in, and employees are back at work making signs. One of the signs was made specifically for Auburn Mountainview High School senior Cooper White.
White has been staying in contact with his baseball team over group chat.
"Everything we were pretty much looking forward to kind of got swept away," explained White. "I was in tears when I found out, my mom and I, we were both crying together pretty much."
Like countless other high school seniors, White will miss out on final sporting events with his teammates, graduation, prom, and the final high school experiences he was looking forward to enjoying.
"Just try to keep your head up, it's hard. I don't know for whatever religious standpoint, say a prayer, because I know that God is always there for you, and he will always have your back," said White.
Minuteman Press Kent, a franchise but independently owned store, is now reaching out to other stores across the country to see if they would also like to make senior signs for their communities.
Brown said she recognizes the financial hardship families are going through as a result of the pandemic. A fund has been set up for families who would like to have signs for their seniors.
"It's just really resonated with all these parents who are mourning this part of their kids’ lives and they want to do something to make it special still," she said.