Score! Smithfield high school seniors get chance to attend last football game after online petition | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly
SMITHFIELD, Va. (WAVY) – The class of 2021 at Smithfield High School is proving there’s power in numbers.
Seniors will have the chance to attend their final high school football game after an online petition got the attention of school officials.
Current COVID-19 restrictions limited the number of spectators at sporting events but capacity sizes will increase on April 1.
Seniors made a Hail Mary request that paid off.
It’s a special surprise for the students who’ve missed out on a lot due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I really would love to have just one normal event especially through everything that’s going on,” said senior Ryan Bond.
School officials are determined to make it happen.
“We’re going to do the best that we can to get as many students in as possible,” said Bryan Thrift, principal at Smithfield High School.
After a year without the usual traditions, a student petition scored a win for the soon-to-be graduates. Seniors will get to cheer on the football team at their last game of the season.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen, but I’m happy it is,” said senior Che Mullins.
Players are excited to have more spectators in the crowd.
“To have their support is definitely going to make me play better,” said senior Kelby Saunders.
The petition got support from hundreds in just one day. The principal and others quickly got to planning.
“We came out to the field, we started to do measurements. We wanted to see, number one, could we get the kids in? Could we maintain the distancing based on the Governor’s executive order,” Thrift said. “We figured we could probably get about 100 kids in here.”
Thrift said there are about 350 seniors. A lottery system will be used if the demand exceeds the number of spots available.
“The biggest thing is we wanted to be safe but we still want to provide students with those memorable opportunities you get for your senior year,” Thrift said.
The game is April 2, just one day after spectator limits are eased.
“It’s one thing to have parents there, but just to have your friends and then that extra ‘oomph’ there and that support – I mean it’s going to be a major deal for these kids,” said Kendra Saunders.
Seniors are excited at the possibility of being under the Friday night lights one last time.
“It would definitely mean a lot because it’s my last year in high school so like the last hoorah type thing,” Bond said.