Highland Park High School (HPHS) seniors will be celebrating their graduation this year under a cloud of COVID-19. The traditional graduation ceremony for students and their relatives is being replaced by a virtual ceremony and a car parade. Main Street Highland Park, in collaboration with Project Graduation, however, hopes to bring a little sunshine to the untraditional graduation by implementing a program called “Highland Bucks for HPHS graduates.”
Project Graduation, a group of parent volunteers whose goal is to produce a safe year-end celebration for the graduating high school seniors, reached out to Main Street for an initiative that would give a boost to both the graduates and the retail community.
Each graduate will receive a $20 Highland Buck certificate that can be used as cash in any participating Highland Park downtown business. There still is time for businesses to sign up for this program that costs the businesses nothing and generates good will. When businesses collect the bucks, they will turn them into Main Street Highland Park by emailing a picture of the buck. Businesses then will get reimbursed for the total.
“Project graduation approached me and asked if Main Street Highland Park had a Highland Park dollars program. I was very excited by the request, because it is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I realized it was a great initiative particularly right now since the businesses have been struggling so much because of COVID-19. Programs like these are a great way to come together to support the students and our downtown, and I hope we can keep doing it in future years,” said Rebecca Hersh, executive director of Main Street Highland Park.
Lily Solomon contributed to the reporting of this story.