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“Be The Light” Movement Offers Moral Support To High School Seniors

Jefferson County School District 509J

School districts across the country are joining a movement to support graduating seniors by turning on their athletic field lights at 8:20 in the evening.

That time is known as 20:20 on the 24-hour clock, and is meant to honor the class of 2020.

Many states, including Oregon, have canceled all in-person learning for the remainder of the academic year because of the coronavirus. That means this year’s 12th-graders are missing out on many rites of passage, including prom, spring sports, theater and music performances and graduation ceremonies.

Mark Henderson is the athletic director and assistant principal at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, which will turn on its football stadium lights once a week through the rest of the school year.

“It’s a pretty dark time for a lot of people, especially these seniors," he said. "If we can brighten up the sky a little bit, shine a little light, and let them know that we care about them, and that they’ve got people that are supporting them and in their corner, hopefully that makes them feel a little bit better.”

But Henderson said he knows that the gesture has its limits.  “We not going to be able to bring all these experiences back for them, so we’re doing what we can do,” he said.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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