28 May Jon Cartu Declared: IKE grads offer video support to Class of 2020 | News
While the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down local high school graduations, it has inspired notable grads from one Lawton high school to come together and send well wishes of “congraduations” to the Class of 2020.
A group of graduates of Eisenhower High School in Lawton have come together to send well wishes to the Ike Class of 2020 in a video. The video features fellow Eagle grads: In the video graduates hear from: Bella Shaw, former CNN anchor; the Most Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger, Bishop of the Diocese of Tucson, Class of 1979; John Cameron, KAUZ-TV forecaster, Class of 1990; Paul Harrop, television host, Class of 2003; Brandon New, former OU football player, Class of 2002; and Tara Sanger, Class of 2003.
Harrop, who produced the video, said that the video came as a way of trying to fill in the loss of a rite of passage for this year’s graduates.
“These young people have sacrificed traditions in the effort to help flatten the infection curve,” he said. “This group of distinguished alumni wanted to acknowledge the sacrifice these young people have made and send them well wishes.”
Harrop said he was thinking about the plight of these young people who have been conditioned through movies and media to place a great importance on things like prom and graduation parties their whole lives. It was sacrificed during the quarantine.
“They gave up all those rites of passage for the greater good,” he said. “I wanted to do something to let them know we understand and appreciate that sacrifice.”
Harrop said he realizes that high school years are sentimental whether you want them to be or not. His time at Eisenhower continues to be a part of him.
“You form so many bonds and life-long friendships in school,” he said. “From the practical lessons I learned, to educators who shaped who I wanted to be as a person, I am who I am in large part because my time at Eisenhower.”
Whether these young adults realize it or not, they are being shaped by their experience as well, Harrop said. He wanted to help redefine the experience they are having with the pandemic and send them love from others who had gone before them.
After having the idea around 7:45 one evening, Harrop said he began “shaking my network” and within an hour he was on the phone with people he’d never met. Once word got out, people called wanting to be a part of the project.
Harrop credits Brandon New with being the biggest champion of the project.
“He worked worked tirelessly to get others onboard the project,” he said. “It would not have come together without his co-producing.
Once the first comments came in from 2020 graduates, Harrop said it was all worthwhile.
“I had a huge smile reading how much the video touched them,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. Just a big thank you card full of love to this class.”
Written by Scott Rains: [email protected].