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Class of 2020 bench: Dreams are stronger than COVID

Class of 2020 bench: Dreams are stronger than COVID


While the Class of 2020 did not enjoy a traditional Project Graduation because of COVID-19, the class members now have a bench outside Waynesville High School to help everyone remember their unique year.

Kaitlyn LeGrande, a 2020 graduate, volunteered for the Project Grad Committee and said that after the event was canceled, the committee, which was made up of volunteer parents and students “wanted to find a way to create a gift for the Class of 2020.” 

From their discussions, the bench concept gained traction and ultimately was selected as the tribute for the class. The bench states, “Their year was cut short but their Dreams were not,” along with “Class of 2020.” Jamie Stearns, secretary at Waynesville High School, suggested the quote after seeing it online. 

“To me, the quote means that even though we had the last few months of our senior year taken away, we still can keep going on, still keep our dreams and be successful,” said LeGrande, who attends Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., where she is pursuing a degree in secondary mathematics education.  

Kayla Maassen, WHS counselor and the senior year sponsor for the class of 2020, helped coordinate efforts for Project Graduation for the Class of 2020. 

“Since we were not able to have an in-person Project Graduation, the committee came up with the idea of creating a lasting gift for the class with the funds that had been raised for the event,” Maassen said. “We had a really great group and they were super involved and excited about the event, so I think it’s especially great that they were able to come up with a positive way to remember their class and year.” 

Orsolya Simmons, a parent, who volunteered on the committee said, “We had to do something for this class. We were working so hard, but it didn’t happen, so I thought the idea of the bench was awesome.”

Her daughter, Anna Simmons, a graduate of the class of 2020, said, “it is nice to have something to remember our year by.” Simmons attends Southeast Missouri State, where she is pursuing a degree in graphic design. 

The donors to Project Graduation included the following: 

Hawthorn Bank

Maries County Bank

Navy Federal

Security Bank of Pulaski County

Sellers-Sexton, Inc.

Laclede Electric Trust, Inc. - Operation Round Up

Infuze Credit Union

Ft Wood Community Spouses Club Grant

FLW Thrift Shop -       Outreach Grant

Rotary Club of Pulaski County


January 15, 2021

bench bench class of 2020