Tigerton seniors honored with banners

Donations were raised in 30 minutes
Miriam Nelson
News Editor

TIGERTON — With the COVID-19 pandemic canceling school activities, sports and special events, it’s been a difficult time for Wisconsin students, especially seniors. Wanda Tucker, senior class adviser at Tigerton High School, wanted to make sure the nine students in the Class of 2020 know they have not been forgotten.

Tucker, who is also a special education aide at the high school, said she’d been hearing about the seniors’ challenges and frustrations from students and parents. “Everyone feels bad for them,” she said. “I thought of doing something special for them to let them know how proud our community and school is of them, and the grace and dignity with which they are handling all of this.”

“I saw on Facebook that different schools were having banners for their spring sport athletes,” Tucker added. “I thought it was a good idea, but that we should do it for the whole class.”

In Marion, where Tucker lives, there are similar banners on the street lamps. So she contacted the company that produced them, and they said they could help out with this project.

“They sent me a quote of $1,260 for the nine banners, and I started making phone calls,” said Tucker, who started the project April 2 and sought funds from the Tigerton High School Spirit Club, Premier Bank and First National Bank.

She was quickly joined by Amy Laatsch, another special education aide, and ag/health teacher Lori Rowe. They reached out to the Tigerton FFA, FFA Alumni and Parent Community Organization. Andrea Graham, president of the village of Tigerton and director of the Main Street program, secured funding from both groups and arranged to have a village employee hang the banners. Within half an hour, enough money was raised to fund the project, Tucker said. Donations ranged from $50 to $250.

“I think it’s amazing. It’s the best honor for them,” said Graham. “They’re missing out on so much.”

“Next step was to send a copy of each senior’s class picture,” Tucker said. “By the end of the afternoon, mock ups were sent to me. The order was approved, and we only had to wait for them to get here.” Installation of the banners, which were kept a secret from seniors and their parents, occurred April 21. When the banners are taken down, they will be given to the students.

Marilyn Janke, Tigerton High School’s acting principal, is not surprised that Tucker just stepped up and got the job done. She noted that staff and students often turn to Tucker for help with extra events and activities. Janke added that the district has not yet decided how it will handle graduation, but a decision needs to be made by May 11 in order to get the issue in front of the school board. About half of the seniors are going on to higher education, Janke said; two seniors are already working full-time jobs.

Nathaen Wanta, son of Mike and Carri Wanta, is valedictorian this year, and his banner is on the corner of Ash and Cedar streets. He will be a math major this fall at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

“It’s kind of a bummer that this pandemic had to happen now,” Wanta said. “But I understand that we have to take these measures for the safety of everyone.”

After the banner project was already underway, Tucker said parents and other educators — including tech ed teacher Tim Schmidt — started tossing around the same idea.

“Now I can tell them to take a look at Cedar Street,” said Tucker.