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Cliff Williams / The Outlook Photographs of the Benjamin Russell Class of 2020 have been erected in the lawn in front of Benjamin Russell.

Prior to Benjamin Russell seniors receiving the good news to still have a graduation ceremony, Alexander City councilmembers Scott Hardy and Chris Brown brainstormed a way to honor those who have already missed out on so much.

The two decided to print the senior portraits and display them on Benjamin Russell’s front lawn for all to see as they drive by.

“Even though they know are able to have a graduation, I still think they were robbed of the opportunity to finish out their senior years the way they anticipated,” Hardy said. “For me, although this didn’t turn out the way they had hoped, this is some token of recognition for their success here at Benjamin Russell.”

Brown facilitated printing the signage with Sign Source and Hardy approached Tallapoosa County commissioners Steve Robinson and T.C. Coley about funding the project.

“They both agreed; no questions asked,” Hardy said. “I think that’s indicative of the type of commissioners they’ve been since taking office. Anything I’ve ever asked of them, they never hesitate to pitch in where they could whether financially or with their time.”

With Hardy as an alumnus of Benjamin Russell and a strong advocate for the school and community in which he grew up and Brown having a personal interest in this year’s senior class with his son Ty graduating, the councilmembers felt strongly about showing their support to the students.

“Everybody loves their kids but Chris really loves Ty,” Hardy said. “And I could tell it was tough; he was disappointed his son was not able to finish out the year the way he had hoped. So we thought this would be a good way cheer them up.”

Hardy said he loves Benjamin Russell more than anything and felt acknowledging the students was a no-brainer idea.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to recognize a future graduate or someone representing Benjamin Russell in the future, I think we have an obligation to do so,” Hardy said. “This also shows how engaged our community is in always looking for ways to show support and understanding. Not everyone is going to college and students have different plans after high school but from a unity standpoint, every person should be able to be recognized for graduating.”

Hardy and his wife KK installed the more than 190 signs Tuesday afternoon, which took them about an hour and a half. The signs will be on display until Tuesday and after that, they are free to be picked up by the seniors or their parents.

“I am very proud of this senior class and the programs and athletics at the high school,” Hardy said. “I’ve gotten to know so many students and this is a great group of men and women who will definitely go on to do big and great thing and make Alex City proud.”

Amy Passaretti is a staff writer with the Alexander City Outlook.