Teachers surprise 250 graduating seniors by hand-delivering caps, gowns 

At Manatee School for the Arts, teachers filled their cars with a surprise for students.

"I teach senior English and all 150 of my students are seniors so I feel for them greatly," said one teacher. 

They picked up caps and gowns, signs celebrating students, and now plans for prom and graduation are being hand-delivered to 230 seniors getting ready to graduate. 

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"We get to see our kids, make sure they’re happy and doing good with their lives," said another teacher. 

Thirty-five teachers, staff members and administrators volunteered for the special delivery. 

"It just keeps the kids feel included and important when everybody is so isolated and alone,” said another teacher. “It keeps the human touch.”

They stopped at the homes of 250 students. 

"Our entire school community has really wanted to be a part of this so that’s the great thing, we were able to split it up by ZIP code," said Kelly HIllman, the director of events, recruitment and community relations for Manatee School for the Arts. 

Hillman helped organize the drop-offs. A few hours of the day were spent away from online learning and spent on lifting spirits. 

"With a smile saying, ‘hey it’s not over yet we are still out there thinking about you,’” said Hillman  “We are still making graduation happen, just trying to get them through that last part of the year knowing there still supported and loved.”

While the class of 2020 has to celebrate differently, it does not diminish their hard work. 

"We want to celebrate everything they’ve done and the challenges, the extraordinary challenges that they’ve faced with this pandemic and online learning which none of them signed up for," said assistant principal Terry Devine.