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Camden Hills senior creates virtual window for graduates

By Susan Mustapich | May 12, 2020
Source: Instagram.com@chillsseniors2020 Sophie Ernst, a Camden Hills Regional High School senior, top left, created an Instagram page to keep a senior tradition alive, while the school building is closed.

A Camden Hills senior was missing something she saw every year inside the school entrance at this time of year, and came up with a virtual solution.

"Our administration used to decorate the windows of the front office with every graduating senior's photo and future plans," Sophie Ernst said.

"COVID-19 has taken away a lot from our senior class like prom, and a traditional graduation and baccalaureate, but my favorite thing every year had been seeing where everyone is going to college," she said.

Like every other student at Camden Hills, Ernst hasn't been inside the building since mid-March, when it closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, she  wanted to make sure her class got something similar to those cards on the school office windows.

She created an Instagram page @chillsseniors2020 in mid-April, and messaged the entire 2020 graduating class, inviting them to send a photo, where they were going to college and what their major may be.

Ernst also wanted to be inclusive of seniors who weren’t attending college next fall. "I made sure to emphasize that alternate plans were to be posted in the same way here too, like going to trade school, joining the military, or students who had jobs lined up," she said.

The first week, she got 60 responses. For a couple of days, she worked late into the night to post all of them on Instagram. As of May 12, she had posted about 90 senior cards, "a good chunk of the class," and she expects more.

She takes each photo and adds a background and text using a graphics program. She personalizes the colors and graphics to match either the student's senior photo or the college they’re going to. While this takes a lot of time, she said, it makes each student's post unique.

Thanks to Instagram.com@chillsseniors2020, a favorite senior tradition is alive and well.

"I think the online platform has been especially positive because of the ability for people to comment on the posts and congratulate their friends," Ernst said.

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Sharing what seniors will be doing in the fall is one of the many rites of passage at Camden Hills. (Source: Instagram.com@chillsseniors2020)
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