Principal, Superintendent and teachers personally delivered graduation goody bags to MHS Class of 2020

By Chuck Gibson

MILFORD, OH (May 21, 2020) – Superintendent Nancy House,  High School Principal Josh Kauffman, and several teachers made personal delivery of ‘grad bags’ to all 500 members of the Milford High School Class of 2020 early Wednesday, May 20.

Kristi McKenney, Milford High School staff loads ‘grad bags’ into her car for delivery Wednesday, May 20 (Chuck Gibson) 

The delivery crew met at the high school cafeteria and began loading the red bags into their personal vehicle to begin deliveries around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.  Each bag included the cap, gown, & tassel, senior t-shirt, senior sign, their diploma cover/folio and graduate medals. Some additional items included senior awards, Summa Cum Laude Pins, Salutatorian and Valedictorian Medals, and Military Wing Pins. Hand delivery was made at the home of each graduating senior while maintaining safe social-distancing standards and wearing masks.

“It makes it so personalized,” said House. “It’s a great touch-point with our staff and our Principals to be able to see students face-to-face. We pride ourselves on the relationships with our students. Our teachers and students are really close. It’s a great way to make that personal connection.”

Milford Schools Superintendent Nancy House, and MHS Principal Josh Kauffman load bags into the car for delivery (Chuck Gibson) 

Though travelling to each student home in separate vehicles to observe social distancing guidelines, House and Kauffman made deliveries as a team. They were teamed up on purpose to honor the students going into the military. Honoring those seniors making a commitment to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces is another special celebration at Milford High School.

“Principal Kauffman and I get to deliver the bags that have the Military Wing pins in them,” House said. “That’s a tradition we started three years ago.”

The unique Milford Eagle Military Wing pin (Chuck Gibson)

Milford High School Vice Principal Shane Ferguson displays the items in the grad bags (Chuck Gibson)

“That’s part of my graduation remarks, recognizing those students,” said House.

 The grad bags were delivered Wednesday to be sure the graduates have them ahead of the Virtual Graduation Ceremony planned for this Saturday, May 23, at 4:00 p.m. Principal Kauffman and the staff have worked hard to give the Milford High School Class of 2020 the best graduation celebration they can with the limitations caused by COVID-19 restrictions.  Seeing each student during the hand deliveries Wednesday has special meaning to Kauffman and the staff.

MHS senior Dakota Frank receives his bag from Principal Kauffman as Superintendent House looks on (Chuck Gibson)

“It means the world to us,” said Kauffman. “These kids are so important, they’re the reason we do what we do. To be able to have these last moments, and spend them face-to-face by dropping off these bags, giving them everything they need to celebrate virtual graduation on Saturday means the world. Everything we do at Milford High School is about the kids, and it’s for the kids. I’m so proud of our teachers and the entire community for rallying around the kids.”

 Each delivery made by Kauffman and House was like a separate rally on the front doorstep, or in the driveway of the graduating senior. They were greeted by a smiling, if not surprised face – sometimes it was the student, but sometimes it was a parent – in all cases you could see their visit was welcome. Senior Dakota Frank was among the first deliveries made.

“It was definitely shocking,” said Frank. “I didn’t really know who was going to drop it off. Seeing the Principal and the Superintendent come is kind of crazy. It was very special. It really shows how much they’re supporting us through all this. I think our teachers and everyone have been super supportive in this whole quarantine thing.”

MHS Senior Joey Cutting talks with Principal Kauffman and Superintendent House as his mom Candice Cutting looks on (Chuck Gibson)

Frank is going into the Marines. He is scheduled to leave in October. The student was not always home for the delivery by House and Kauffman. On those few stops, they handed the bag off to the parent after being informed the student was at work. Superintendent House was happy to hear some students are working a job. At the home of Joey Cutting, they met his parents outside before he came out to see the surprise visitors.

“It means a lot, I really appreciate them coming out making an effort to come see me,” said Cutting.

It meant a lot to his mom Candice Cutting  to see the Principal and Superintendent  “individualize” her son. “It shows he’s not just a number,” she said.

Milford High School staff delivered grad bags to all 500 graduating seniors Wednesday, May 20 (Chuck Gibson) 

Cutting was especially appreciative because of the sometimes confusing and difficult circumstances he faced helping his siblings with their schoolwork and getting his own work done too. He’s proud of having met a tough challenge. He is headed into the U.S. Navy.

“I feel like it has blessed me with an opportunity in my life,” Cutting said. “It’s allowing me to create a successful path to set myself up for a good future into adulthood.”  

Delivering the grad bags Wednesday was one of many things Milford High School is doing for the Class of 2020. They considered a lot of different “great ideas” for things to celebrate the seniors. It seemed to Kauffman there was a lot of hurry up and with times, but they wanted to be sure to respect restrictions and guideline to do things in a healthy and safe way

The senior t-shirt included in the grad bags (Chuck Gibson) 

Superintendent House and Principal Kauffman enjoy a friendly chat with the father of one MHS Senior (Chuck Gibson) 

Next up is the virtual graduation ceremony Saturday. That will be broadcast on their YouTube Channel, the High School Facebook page and on local community access cable channels hosted by ICRC (Spectrum- Ch.15, CinBell Fioptics –Ch.845)  ICRC will also be live-streaming the ceremony online. The week of June first they’ll have students come up and pick up their actual diploma.

 “We’ll have a really nice setting for them and take their picture in cap and gown,” Kauffman said. “We’ll have that final moment as well.”

All the grad bag loot laid out on display (Chuck Gibson)