With traditional graduation plans disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the town of Norridgewock is doing a little extra to support the 30 graduating seniors who live in town and will be walking across the stage at Skowhegan Area High School next month.

Norridgewock Town Manager Richard LaBelle said in an interview Thursday that as a town, community members wanted to do something to encourage the students who have missed out on the spring term in school.

“We got together and brainstormed ideas on what we could do for the seniors,” LaBelle said. “We had banners done up that are lining Main Street with their senior photos, name and Skowhegan Class of 2020. The folks on our boards and committees were really supportive of doing something extra for the kids of Norridgewock.”

The signs are being paid for with tax increment financing, or TIF, funds which benefit companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance development in an area. Brandi Ireland, who is a member of the TIF committee in Norridgewock, said that committee support for the student banners was unanimous.

 

“The town wanted to show support and to do something for the seniors since they’re already missing out on so much,” Ireland said. Ireland, who has a niece graduating from Skowhegan Area High School, said that she is personally touched by this effort and helped hand out banners to hang Friday morning.

LaBelle said that the signs will be up for at least a few weeks, and then they will be available for the families of the seniors to pick up and keep.

“We’ve seen a lot of yard signs for the kids,” LaBelle said. “It’s good for students and their families to see a community behind them, and what I’ve seen as a much bigger show of support.”

Seniors at Skowhegan Area High School will graduate on June 20 at the school, Principal Bruce Mochamer said Thursday. Though it will not be the traditional ceremony that’s been held in precious years, students will be able to walk into the gym in groups of six and receive their diplomas and turn their tassels with their families.

MSAD 54 serves the communities of Canaan, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock, Smithfield and Skowhegan.

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