Graduating seniors at Matanzas High School will never forget their graduation day thanks to Principal Jeff Reaves.
When seniors arrived at school on graduation day, they were surprised to see a note placed on each chair. Little did they know that this wasn’t a program or a seat holder, it was a personalized note from their principal, Mr. Reaves. Yes, for each and every student.
Principal Reaves called it his ‘labor of love.’
“I wanted to acknowledge their efforts and energy and send them off in a positive way,” he said.
Principal Reaves knew this year was very challenging for students and he wanted to do something that would make them feel special.
“It was as much for me as them and I got the chance to learn about each student individually… It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, but it’s the names that really matter. I was doing my part to help them feel connected as a community and have their high school experience to be positive.” – Reaves told PEOPLE
Both parents and students were blown away by his kindness.
Principal Reaves started his job four years ago when the current seniors were freshmen. He wanted to help them finish on a high note.
“It’s a sense of accomplishment that we were able to do most things and that was meaningful to seniors and families…it’s really about the students, and across our country, there are teachers and educators who do things like this to make a great impression on these students,” Reaves told PEOPLE
Courtney Woods, one of the graduating seniors, was moved by the sincere gesture.
Woods thought at first that the note on her seat was possibly a seating chart.
“Every single one had something special to that student in it. Mine specifically mentions theatre in it..he took the time to get to know the kids…it really meant a lot.” – Courtney Woods
Courtney was proud to share her note which read, “Courtney, I’m so proud of you. Your work on stage and behind it has been impressive.”
“The notes were such a special part of graduation it made the whole year worth it.” – Courtney Woods
Principal Reaves knew that writing the notes would be a huge undertaking but he wasn’t about to let any senior leave without one. Reaves started writing the notes in March and finished the very morning of graduation.
“We were lined up to walk in and I’m filling out cards for them. People ran out and put it in their seats for them so they had something as well.” – Principal Reaves
Despite the time it took to write personalized notes to each student, Reaves knew that these kids deserved something unique because of their very unique year.
“You persevered and demonstrated tremendous grit and resolve.” – Principal Reaves
Reaves mentioned that the notes really opened up a line of communication with the seniors and their families.
“I got a lot out of it personally just by writing it and the conversations we’ve had afterward from seniors and families.” – Principal Reaves
Now watch this heartwarming video to see how Principal Reaves made his students feel special.
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