A labor of love to bring Harrison County seniors together one last time

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 10:44 PM EDT
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CYNTHIANA, Ky. (WKYT) - High school seniors across Kentucky missed out on a large portion of their school year due to COVID-19.

Seniors missed traditions with friends that only happen once in a lifetime, but for school leaders in Harrison County, the district that was the first to close because of coronavirus, making what they could special for students always came first.

With graduations now complete, it's one picture that is now unifying the class of 2020 in a very socially distanced way.

If you took one look at the Harrison Co. High School class of 2020 picture, you would probably say what Governor Andy Beshear has said throughout this pandemic, “you can’t be doing that!” But take a closer look, it’s not what you think.

“So many people have shared and commented and messaged me about the photo, it’s pretty amazing I am very, very pleased with how everything came out,” said Donald Richie.

Donald Richie is the District Media Specialist for Harrison Co. Schools and he is the mastermind behind this now special memento for the graduating seniors of 2020. “The most important thing about the whole process of a graduation this year was for us to be able to provide this class with as best of an experience as they possibly can, given that they lost the last 25 percent or so of their year and probably some of the best parts of that senior year,” said Richie.

Like all Kentucky schools, education leaders in Harrison Co. had to get creative in how they celebrated this year's seniors.

Earlier in the summer, students graduated one at a time and only immediate family could watch and video. But it was Richie waiting on the sidelines at the green screen that would make the 2020 composite special. He worked for weeks to overlay 208 pictures, creating the composite tradition, just a little different.

“I had a long list of files and I had to keep track of where they were in the picture so I would know if I had to move somebody,” said Richie. His biggest fear was leaving someone out.

Richie says it was an honor to create this timeless treasure for the class of 2020 and just in case for 2021. "I for one know for sure that if we need to do 210 or 220 overlays for a class picture I'm definitely ready to do it," said Richie.

Richie says while he may have put the photo together, he says the brainchild behind this idea was Assistant Principal Jenny Nichols.

The composite photos are now available for students to pick up and we hear it has been all smiles doing so.

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