Tuesday, January 25, 2022

EL couple uses business LED signboard to promote graduating high school seniors

June 12, 2020
<p>Graffiti is seen on June 6, 2014, at East Lansing High School. Corey Damocles/The State News</p>

Graffiti is seen on June 6, 2014, at East Lansing High School. Corey Damocles/The State News

Photo by Corey Damocles | The State News

As plans remain uncertain for a graduation ceremonies to honor high school seniors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of East Lansing are taking steps to uplift the community themselves.

Owners of local auto repair business H&H Mobil, Josh and Lynsey Clayton are using their shop’s LED signboard to display the names of East Lansing Public Schools’ class of 2020 as a shout out to the graduating seniors.

“It's a really good way to show off these kids,” Lynsey said. “We're so excited for them. And just because they can't have all of the normal celebrations doesn't mean that their celebration is any less valid.”

Lynsey said the idea came to her from her father’s sign business where he used to display community announcements and residents’ birthdays.

She said two close friends had seniors feeling down about not being able to celebrate their graduation.

"Just because we have this pandemic doesn't mean that the exciting parts of life stop,” Lynsey said.

The LED signboard, located at Haslett road, has been displaying the names of ELPS graduates along with their senior year portraits since mid-May. Josh said the signboard is a work in progress and they are still working through the proper formatting as some of the images have different sizes.

"Making these pictures aligned with the software that we have and get them on the sign has been some late nights and quite a bit of a challenge,” Josh said. “But it's really been worth it."

Josh said he contacted ELHS Principal Andrew Wells a few weeks ago and offered to donate their signage to promote graduating seniors of 2020 if the material was available. 

“He responded almost immediately,” Josh said. “He was really excited. He was able to connect us with Lifetouch who did the photos for the yearbook." 

Wells said he and Josh sent an email out to parents asking their permission to have the students’ pictures placed on the display. More than half of the senior parents, according to Wells, responded positively.

"Thank Josh and Lynsey for stepping in and stepping up and being able to recognize our seniors on their sign at their establishment,” Wells said.

Lynsey and Josh have also reached out to Lansing Christian School to have their graduates’ name and photograph display on the signboard. Lynsey said she would be more than happy to display homeschooled students as well as children of any East Lansing residents.

“In the midst of a pandemic, you need to find the beautiful things to celebrate,” Lynsey said. “I really want that to be the focus … these kids deserved it — to still be celebrated and have some fun.”

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