CONROE, Texas — H-E-B shoppers in Conroe were pleasantly surprised Friday morning when a routine errand became a chance to celebrate the graduating high school seniors working at the grocery chain’s Harpers Trace location.
About four months ago, at a time when most school districts were contemplating whether ceremonies were possible due to coronavirus, the Harpers Trace team started working on their pop-up 2020 graduation event.
“We wanted to celebrate them in the way they would have been had COVID-19 not changed everything,” Area Community Coordinator Erica Imhoff said. “We began to identify our graduating seniors, collected information from them about where they were graduating from and what their plans were after high school.”
The celebration was complete with decorations, a commencement speech and applause from proud parents.
2020 Harpers Trace H-E-B graduation for high school seniors
Twelve of the 15 graduating partners walked through the H-E-B as their names, high schools and future plans were announced over the store’s loud speaker. As they walked, their families, co-workers and shoppers cheered.
Imhoff said the graduation song “Pomp and Circumstance” was played at the end of the walk. The seniors then headed outside for a speech from the store’s top leader Jamie Lee. And finally, the moment all graduates anticipate, the cap toss!
H-E-B corporate gifted the students a “Graudate’s Celebration in a Box” package that included a dozen cupcakes iced with the graduate’s individual school colors and a balloon bouquet.
“Our store leadership let us pitch in a cup filled with candy and snacks, a roll of toilet paper, a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer as a fun little way to commemorate the not so fun events leading up to this point,” Imhoff said.
During the ceremony, the graduates also took pictures with family members in front a Class of 2020 photo backdrop and enjoyed a small punch reception—of course, all while maintaining social distancing guidelines, Imhoff said.
“While there has been nothing normal about the last three months,” she added, “this certainly brought a revived sense of togetherness and normalcy we have all missed tremendously.”
Congratulations, Class of 2020!
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