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PSHS honors Class of 2021

HOLMES COUNTY – For the second year in row, Poplar Springs School Principal Farica West is honoring her graduating class in a special way. Once again, each senior’s portrait is now a banner-sized photo and part of a display lining each side of the driveway leading up to the school.

West first came up with the idea for the PSHS Class of 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic led to school shutdowns, leaving little hope for traditional graduation ceremonies. West’s display for the Class of 2020 went viral worldwide, leading to numerous stories by national and global news outlets, as well as earning her the nickname of “America’s Principal”. She says the impact of last year’s display made it apparent that a new Poplar Springs tradition had been born.

“People still talk about it, still tell us how much it meant to them,” said West. “We want to do this to honor the kids. It’s still been another unprecedented year for the Class of 2021. The year has been a little more normal, but they’ve still missed out on some things. We couldn’t do the Senior Walk at the beginning of the year; they couldn’t be ‘capped’ by the graduating Seniors last year, and they missed out on part of their Varsity sports year.”

After graduation, West will gift each senior with their banner, a project brought to fruition with the help of photographer Josh Mattox of Mattox Studios in Graceville.

West says she still receives calls and messages from all over the world about last year’s display.

“Last year, we somehow became a symbol of hope for other schools,” said West. “We’re going to be that symbol of hope again.”

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