Bay Port High School graduation signs delivered
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – To help lift the spirits of 476 graduating seniors, more than 50 Bay Port High School teachers, coaches and Howard-Suamico School District office staff hand-delivered graduation signs on Saturday, May 9.
The signs, donated by Elevate97, showed the school’s mascot and said, “Congrats Seniors.”
“It was a small thing we could do to help with morale,” said Bay Port principal Mike Frieder, who organized the sign delivery. “We’ve never lived through something like this, so unbeknownst to me, some families started getting signs for their seniors. We decided this was something we wanted to do for all the seniors. When we got the signs, I said to myself, ‘We need to deliver them to every kid’s house.’ I couldn’t deliver them all myself, so I reached out to the staff and 53 volunteered.”
Frieder said he hadn’t seen some of his staff face-to-face for almost two months, so it was nice to work together.
Participating staff were given about 10 seniors to deliver to in a neighborhood.
Girls’ soccer player Alaina Abel was one of the seniors who had a sign delivered to her residence.
Abel, who will be playing Division I soccer at Loyola University Chicago, was paid a visit by Bay Port head soccer coach Brook Mraz.
“It was nice to see coach (from a distance),” said Abel, who was a part of two state championship teams at Bay Port. “It was special to have her deliver my sign and see her smiling face. She has been an influential person in my life, and any time I get to spend with her I cherish.”
Mraz said it was emotional delivering signs, especially to her players.
“I delivered signs to quite a few seniors,” she said. “I was able to get pictures of some, but others weren’t home. It was a neat gesture by the school, and Mr. Frieder was excited about it. Nothing will replace what was lost, but the district is looking for ways to make the seniors know everyone is still thinking about them.”
Mraz said she received many thanks from the parents and students throughout the day.
Due to the WIAA canceling the spring seasons, the soccer team wasn’t able to attempt another run at a state title.
After finishing runner-up in 2017, Bay Port won the gold ball in 2018 and lost in the semifinals last season.
“It’s been tough dealing with it all,” Mraz said. “We knew the season might get canceled, but up until the official announcement from the WIAA, everyone was hoping for a condensed season. When the finality became a reality, it was tough on everybody. I feel bad for the four seniors, but also the freshman who missed a chance to play with four special players.”
Besides Abel, Emma Nagel, McKenzie Johnson and Ava Style were the other seniors on the roster.
It was recently announced in a district-wide email that Bay Port’s graduation ceremony will be held virtually at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 7.
“It will be a graduation show we’ll be producing over the next month,” Frieder said. “We hope to get the kids together sometime in the summer to celebrate with them, and I’ve been talking with class officers to see what that might look like. It’s difficult now because we can’t plan for those things at this point. Right now, (Gov. Tony Evers) has said no one on campus until June 30, and that could be extended. If we can get kids together before they go off to college, we’ll do it.”
Frieder said if this summer isn’t a possibility for a gathering, that doesn’t mean the school won’t get the seniors together at a later point.
“It might be Thanksgiving or Christmas break,” he said. “We are going to do it, it’s just a matter of when.”