Coronavirus kindness: Morgan Hill Rotary Club honors all graduates from three area high schools with downtown banners

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (KGO) -- Seemingly every week we see a new, creative way to honor the class of 2020 who are missing out on their end of the year activities due to the novel coronavirus.

In the South Bay, the Morgan Hill community has found a way to highlight their seniors while bringing people back to their once busy downtown.

Small towns have struggled to keep businesses thriving during the coronavirus pandemic, especially here in Morgan Hill.

"To see a downtown, that we spent decades building up and really rejuvenating to really become the centerpiece of our community, become more of a ghost town was really hard," Morgan Hill City Council Member Larry Carr said.

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Then an idea to help bring people back and spread pride in the community.

The downtown streets have now been revitalized thanks in part to banners honoring the high school class of 2020.

"My daughter and I have walked down here and looked at every single banner and we see many families down here doing the same thing," Carr said. "The downtown business community has been really supportive because they see it as a way of people coming downtown and taking a look at what's going on in Morgan Hill as they look at the banners. So it's been a really neat thing to bring a community together."

50 banners highlight the more than 650 graduating students from Central, Live Oak Oakwood and Sobrato High Schools.

What started as an idea in a zoom happy hour between friends in the Morgan Hill Rotary Club turned into yet another way the city is honoring their students.

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Members of the community, including the Kiwanis Club and the Rotary Club of Morgan Hill, spent a weekend to hang the signs so all students can be honored.



"That's really one of the hallmarks of our community and about Morgan Hill, we do support each other," Carr said. "Especially right now, it takes all of us to get through what's going on and so if a community can get behind honoring these kids and supporting these kids, now more than ever, it's really special and it really shows them how much they mean."

651 total students shown proudly with each school scattered throughout the downtown.

The students were mixed together on the signs to show it's not just one school the community is proud of, but all students.

"I think that there's two things that I want people to get when they come downtown: one is the pride, hard work and accomplishments of our youth and, also, a sense of hope for the future," Rotary Club of Morgan Hill Youth Service Director Mario Banuelos said. "If you look at all these pictures, these are the young men and women that are going to be the leaders in our future. All I can say is that I'm really proud and I'm very hopeful for the future."

You know what they say, small towns have their own heartbeat and that's true here in Morgan Hill.

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