This year’s high school graduating class may have lost out on their prom and senior ditch day, but local cities across Lake County are visibly honoring the more than 2,400 graduates with the help of a local businessman. Timothy Totten, owner of Celebrating Heroes, had an idea to create individual banners for each graduate and worked with the area’s public and private schools to use the seniors’ yearbook photos. Totten and Eustis Mayor, Michael Holland, then worked with the other local city governments to seek their willingness to hang banners for their graduates.
So far, the banners have been installed in Mount Dora, Eustis and Tavares. Umatilla and Leesburg banner programs should be kicking off over the next few days. Banners for three South Lake County schools will be installed at the schools ahead of their graduations on June 11th and 12th. Mount Dora’s Class of 2020 banners, honoring Mount Dora High and Mount Dora Christian Academy, are on display along the fence at the Lawn Bowling Association and the Mount Dora Marina, Mount Dora High School and MDCA Bulldog. Banners for Eustis graduates are hanging from downtown light poles, and Tavares has displayed them along the fence at Tavares Town Square.
The bulk of the program costs have been advanced by Totten's company, with donations being accepted to offset the expense. Additional support for the program has come from the donation of manpower and funding from local cities, as well as a handful of local donors.
"I didn't want to wait until we could raise all the money, because there is only a very limited amount of time when graduations and festivities normally happen," said Totten of the effort to pay for the project. "Without counting manpower and artist time for our company, the printing cost was more than $35,000, but that's a small price to pay for honoring these great kids."
To make a donation to the effort, interested parties can visitwww.celebratingheroes.com or make a donation to Timothy Totten at any United Southern Bank branch.
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