Signs of a strange season are popping up in neighborhoods around North Augusta this month, celebrating nearly four years of teenage achievements in academics, athletics and other arenas.
"It was just a brief idea from someone, and it's exploded, and we're not sure where it's going to end," said Mark Hooks, with Communigraphics, whose his crew has produced hundreds of weatherproof signs over the past three weeks, helping strike a celebratory note in the midst of a wildly abbreviated school year. The fun started in early April.
"We had employees suggest 'senior signs,' and ... so we set up an online store, for doing first, just ... North Augusta seniors, just to show appreciation for them, and it kind of exploded into probably 20 different schools, and different sports, and we're probably up towards 1,000 signs so far," he said. "It's been a blur since then."
Among the other schools on board via Communigraphics have been Fox Creek, Richmond Academy, Hephzibah, Silver Bluff, Greenbrier, Westminster, Harlem, Wardlaw, Evans, Strom Thurmond, Westside and Grovetown, all over the course of about three weeks.
"We've done a few out-of-town schools. We currently have a large middle school that is doing it for all of their eighth graders."
Customers have made a variety of suggestions, including pictures. "Everything imaginable, from band to lacrosse to swimming. Every imaginable sport, and then just your generic senior sign."
"We're well over 1,000, as far as the total number of signs, and probably, I would guess 20 to 30 different organizations or schools, churches – things along those lines."
Kris Harwood, with Quality Printing, said her business has had a variety of similar requests, mostly from around Aiken County. "I think that it's important, and we're happy to be able to offer the seniors a way to show their pride in graduating. Even though they can't 'walk,' they can still let other people know, so ... we're glad to be able to help put that out there for them," she said.
Some signs have been for students in general – not just seniors – and creativity continues to flow, Hooks said.
"We've had some from the coast – down around the Hilton Head area – and we've done a few from Tennessee ... and it really just started with one Facebook post, and from there it kind of exploded through word of mouth, and we have not done any formal advertising for it, other than the occasional Facebook post, so it's been word of mouth. One school hears from another school, and they contact us."