It’s been more than two months since schools in Oregon closed and just as long since teachers and students from Corvallis High School were able to see each other.
On Saturday, even if it was for only a short amount of time, they were reunited thanks to a gesture from the owner of a local donut shop.
Tom Kobold, owner of Gnomenuts, dedicated Saturday to the CHS soon-to-be graduates and gave free donuts to each member of the class of 2020. With his bright yellow food truck stationed in the empty lot at Winn Farms, Kobold gave away hundreds of donuts, with one original, cinnamon and powdered sugar going to each senior.
As they drove through the lot in parade-like fashion, the students were greeted and cheered on by CHS teachers and administrators. It was a welcome opportunity for the staff to give well-wishes to the seniors, and for the students to reconnect with their teachers after the school year came to an abrupt end.
“It’s awesome — it’s so great to see all the teachers and it’s just a really great way to bring the class back together,” Corvallis senior Journey Lipscomb said. “I wasn’t expecting all the teachers to be here so that was a really nice surprise to see everybody.”
Schools across the state closed March 13, and since then students and teachers have communicated solely through Google Meet and video chats in order to get coursework completed.
On Saturday, they wanted to do whatever they could to show their support for the class of 2020.
“Just to see them and let them know that we’re still here for them and we care,” CHS teacher Susan Sisson said.
Seniors were able to pick up graduation yard signs and T-shirts on Friday, and their graduation parade will be held June 6 at noon.
“Seeing some of the people who made my high school career what it is, and who made me who I am as a person, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to have this in a time like this,” CHS senior Zane Ross said.
This was the second weekend in a row Kobold has used his business to do something positive for local seniors. Last Saturday, he and his staff handed out donuts to Crescent Valley High School class of 2020. Pepsi, Costco and Best Pots all made donations to help out with the giveaway.
“About a month ago I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to do something,'” Kobold said. “I feel so bad for the seniors. All the girls who work for me go to Corvallis High, and I’ve got to do something to help these kids out. I’ve got not enough mix for 4,000 donuts — we can make donuts ‘til the cows come home.”
Kobold’s staff is made up completely of CHS students, some of whom have been working for him for several years. His daughter is also set to graduate from University of Oregon this year, and he has seen first hand how difficult it is on students of all ages to not be able to walk at a traditional graduation ceremony.
“We’re just proud of the seniors and I’m just happy to do my part,” Kobold said. “I’m really happy that we could put something together for them.”