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North Central Seniors Receive Surprise Gift Overnight; Pioneer Highlights Class Of 2020 With Street Banners

THE HANGING OF THE BANNERS … Was accomplished in the middle of the night/early morning on Saturday, April 25, 2020 in Pioneer, Ohio, honoring the Seniors of North Central Schools. Seen here getting ready to hang the banner for Senior Levi Williams is Pioneer Electric Superintendent Brad Vandevoorde.  Forty one banners were hung between midnight and 3 a.m.

By: Rebecca Miller

Anyone driving through Pioneer, Ohio on Friday April 24, 2020 around midnight would have witnessed a secret unfolding. For the past month a small group have carefully planned and pulled off a surprise for the North Central Senior Class.  This morning as parents and seniors checked their FaceBook, there was a special message to them from Mayor Ed Kidston and a video of all the seniors scrolling by to the tune of “Ooh Child” by the Five Stairsteps.

Mayor Ed Kidston shared on a phone interview that the game plan on Friday night was for the electric crew from Pioneer to put up individual Banners which were made for 41 of the 44 Seniors who are graduating this year from North Central. (Three had not turned in their pictures, but Mayor Kidston said that if they do turn them in now, the village will be happy to get their banners made and hung as well.)  He would then post on the Pioneer Village FaceBook page, a message which he wrote to the seniors and the video, hoping that it would be one of the first things they saw in the morning. He was up until 3 a.m. helping get the banners up and was relaxing in his easy chair on Saturday morning reading the comments and enjoying how many were sharing the post.

As the parents and students began to discover what had been done to help them during this unusual graduation time, reactions were all positive. Betsy Ibarra, mother of Senior Class Officer Ashlyn Helms said, “I had no idea! They really kept the secret well! Ashlyn saw it on FB and shared it. This is a hard time and every little thing is helping them. This is great! Pioneer is a great town to live in. They have really come through for us all during this time.”

Laura Haas, one of the Senior Class Advisors, and Senior Colby’s mom, was thrilled for the class. “It is so nice!” she said. “I think those kids need it. People keep saying nice things to them and I am sure this will help. Watching the video brought a tear to my eye. I think the kids will like seeing it for a while.”

Comments on the You Know You’re From Pioneer Ohio FaceBook page (before 10 a.m. on Saturday) from parents of seniors included:

–   Val Culver Weed, mom of Haley Culver – “Beautiful. Upcoming stars. Class of 2020 may you all shine forever.”

  • Kim Lehsten, mom of Alex – “Absolutely LOVE this!! Thank you, Pioneer and NC. CONGRATULATIONS 2020!”
  • Brandie Bailey, mom of Jack – “Thank you to everyone involved in this great project. We love you class of 2020 and we are so proud of you! Congratulations!”
  • Heather Brown, mom of Makayla – “Thank you for saluting our seniors!!! This is Awesome”

Senior, Jack Bailey said, “I would like to thank the Village of Pioneer for honoring my class. It’s pretty cool to be recognized like that. We are very lucky to have so many people love and support us through all of this. It sure isn’t how we saw our senior year going. One thing is for sure, the class of 2020 will stand out in history and we will always be remembered.”

Senior Class President, Taylor Fenicle said, “I just think it is awesome. I woke up to it this morning and it was so heartwarming. This time is crazy and this is just an amazing gift from our community.”

The group who managed to all keep it a secret and get this loving gift accomplished included NC Schools Superintendent Bill Hanak, Principal Marcia Rozevink, High School Counselor Diane Veres, Village Council member Connie Salisbury, Village Administrator Al Fiser, Electric Superintendent Brad Vandevoorde and Lineman Nic Carlson.  Special Thanks was given in the FB post, for completely funding with donations, to North Central Student Council, NC Soar, NC Principal Fund, NC FFA and the Village of Pioneer.

Rebecca can be reached at


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Source: The Village Reporter

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