FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) – A Flagler County high school principal was busier than most in the weeks leading up to graduation.
Matanzas High’s Jeff Reaves was writing notes to each and every one of his 459 seniors.
He says it was a labor of love.
“I wanted to acknowledge their efforts and energy and send them off in a positive way,” Reaves said.
The Matanzas High School graduating class of 2021 is special for principal Jeff Reaves. He started when they were freshmen. He wanted them to finish on a high note.
“This group, you know, obviously went through COVID and everything they dealt with was very unique, and so I wanted my response to them to be unique,” he said.
Mr. Reaves’ response was a note he hand-wrote to each and every senior. They were on the chairs as the graduates walked in for the ceremony.
The principal started in March and was literally writing notes graduation morning when two students, not expected, showed up.
“We were lined up to walk in and I’m filling out cards for them and people ran out and put it in their seats for them, so they had something, as well,” he said.
“My first reaction was, ‘oh, it’s a fun little seating chart thing,'” said graduate Courtney Wood.
Wood admits she was at first puzzled by the notes awaiting her and the other 458 graduates, then, she said she was amazed when she realized what her beloved principal had done.
“Every single one had something special to that student in it, like mine specially mentions theatre in it, like he took the time to get to know the kids and it really meant a lot,” Wood said.
WESH 2 News asked Wood to read a bit of hers.
“Courtney, way to go…I’m so proud of you. Your work on stage and behind it have been impressive.”
Reaves said his seniors missed a lot because of the pandemic, and that his notes were a small gift to a class that deserved so much more.
“I got a lot of it myself, personally, just by writing it, and the conversations we’ve had afterward from seniors and families,” he said.
Reaves says he regularly writes notes, but has never done anything on this scale, and he says he doesn’t know whether he will do it next year; every class, he says, is different.