Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
Jackie Slone is the mother of Ethan Slone, a senior at Ashland Blazer High School. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and schools shut down, her household had to adjust like every other.
“It’s definitely been an adjustment,” said Slone. “The dynamics of the house have changed a lot. Ethan was injured back in December. So, his last day of school was Christmas break. It is unfortunate that the seniors are missing all these memories. I think everyone is doing the best they could to try and recognize the kids.”
Slone said that she wanted to do more for her son, and be proactive in how she could help him, so she created an online community for like-minded parents – a Facebook group – called Ashland Senior Parents.
The Ashland Senior Parents group quickly became a community of voices working together to try and salvage memories for their senior children.
“Parents were throwing out ideas of what we could do, and one parent threw out the banner idea that was being done in bigger cities,” said Slone.
Slone said the banners would depict the photo and name of each high school senior.
Slone contacted the school’s principal, Jamie Campbell, and he authorized that the banners be placed in front of the high school.
“Their graduation ceremony was modified, their senior year was modified, the community wanted to do as much as possible for the kids,” said Slone.
Slone said that the Ashland Senior Parents group quickly got to work and raised approximately $2,600 on social media for the banners. The banners themselves cost $3,200, however, the remaining gap has been covered through donations.
“Within four hours we raised all the funding,” said Slone. “I was really expecting a few hundred to be donated, it was really shocking.”
Slone said that driving past Ashland Blazer High School is a sight to behold, with all the banners currently being displayed. However, Slone said not every senior is depicted currently.
“This isn’t a school sanctioned project, so we weren’t able to get ahold of every senior,” said Slone.
There are 203 seniors, and only 155 were able to be contacted.
Slone said that the banners were created by The Gallaher Group.
“I cannot thank Dena Newsom enough for all of her help through all of this,” said Slone.
Olivia Yongue, a senior at Ashland Blazer High School, said that she has been close with the Slone family for a long time, because her mother is close friends with Jackie Slone, so she was aware of the project going on. However, not everyone was aware of the project.
“It was a surprise for a lot of the seniors,” said Yongue.
Yongue said that losing a lot of the traditional senior memories is difficult, however, seeing the community pull together was a memory she can look back on and cherish.
“I feel like this does help a little bit,” said Yongue. “It shows they care, it’s something we can take home and remember it.”
FoodFair in Ashland has now also displayed all the seniors banners from their ceilings in show of support to all the seniors, said Slone.