Memorable send-off: Tallahassee high school grads get billboard

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT
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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 14, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Graduation for the Class of 2020 is looking a lot different in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but some people are embracing it.

One Tallahassee mother gave a group of best friends a memorable send-off with a billboard that featured six Chiles High School graduating seniors. The mother decided to get creative after she realized all of the "normal" celebrations were off-limits due to COVID-19.

"I had no idea she was going to be putting it on a billboard," said her daughter, Gracie Miller.

At first, the group of best friends thought maybe it was a prank.

"To be honest, I thought it was photoshopped," added Ansley Topchik, who was tagged in a picture of the billboard on Instagram.

Once they realized it was the real deal, they could not wait to see it in person.

"It's crazy to see my face up there with all of my best friends," Elle Hart said.

"It was cool," added Amelia Whittington. "I felt like a celebrity."

The ladies have been friends ever since they were little girls and will head in several directions for college in the Fall.

"They are my bestest friends," Topchick said. "I wouldn't trade them for the world."

Like thousands of graduating high school seniors across the country, the girls have been robbed of the traditional ending with prom and walking across the commencement stage, but the billboard presented a piece of closure that had, perhaps, been missing.

"It's just been tough because we've been looking forward to these things for our whole life," Whittington said.

The photo was a picture from the first day of class senior year. The girls wore matching 'senior' garb.

"It really made me feel the whole senior year was put together," said Mallory Ragsdale, who will be attending Florida State.

The gift also taught a great lesson.

"This billboard was just a representation of the positive that can come out of something that we never expected," added Miller.

It also left them with a bit of hope- that the best is yet to come.

"Even though we won't be able to graduate together, I know after high school we are still going to make amazing memories," said Taylor McDaniel.

The grads said they are excited for their next chapter, even if they're celebrating apart. They are also looking forward to their

later this month.