Logan Burtch-Buus / Tucson Local Media
Canyon del Oro High School science teacher Jordan Castle prepares a yard sign for a CDO senior.
Carrying signs and plastic mallets, the hardworking educators of Amphitheater Public Schools recently showed how much they value their graduating seniors by placing congratulatory signs in their front yards.
Emblazoned with the mascot of each school, the signs remind the students that they are the “Pride of Amphi.”
The signs were the result of a brainstorming session between Amphi Superintendent Todd Jaeger and Director of 21st Century Education Tassi Call. The latter was inspired after overhearing her daughter, a junior at Canyon del Oro High School, on the phone with some of her senior friends lamenting over lost traditions like prom and Project Graduation.
Call knew the district had to do something.
“The Amphitheater school district loves and cares about all of our students,” she said. “Especially our seniors in the class of 2020.”
With a concept in mind, Amphi turned to its staff to make it all a reality—and they were more than ready to spread some love.
“We have to do things for these kids to make them feel special, and I’m hoping that the families see this is a small token of gratitude and love coming from our district and our teachers,” said CDO Principal Tara Bulleigh. “Your kids are still priority No. 1 for us, and we’re going to do everything we can to try and give them an end to senior year that’s still memorable.”
Teachers arrived at schools on Friday, loaded up signs, received their assignments, and took to the road. Signs were delivered to the families of seniors from CDO, Ironwood Ridge, the Rillito Center, and Amphi Academy Online.
One of the groups hammering CDO signs consisted of science teacher Jordan Castle, English teacher Camille Nicley and Castle’s younger sister, Haidyn Warner.
“I started here four years ago and I teach freshmen, so these seniors were my very first group of kids ever,” Castle said. “Graduating high school is a huge milestone, not only for the kids but for the parents too. Parents always dream about seeing their kids walk across the stage and they don’t get that opportunity. We’re doing everything to help.”
Just like Castle, Nicley also started at CDO four years ago and said she feels a special connection with the class of 2020.
“Kids think they just kind of go through the motions in high school, but this shows that people notice them and that people want them to succeed,” she said. “Maybe this is our little way of saying it.”
Though she attends Ironwood Ridge, Warner was happy to help out.
“A lot of kids just get so worked up in the work,” she said. “Having teachers being happy and motivating them, just acknowledging that they’re there, is really helpful and it’s nice to see.”
Amphi isn’t done celebrating it’s seniors, however. Bulliegh said they’re planning a way to host some kind of graduation experience later this month while still adhering to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines regarding COVID-19.
“We’re still here for them,” Bulleigh said. “We still care about them and we love them.”