The Antigo community is no doubt proud of its high school graduates each and every spring, but this year’s COVID-19 epidemic has made honoring them a bit of a challenge.

Motorists through the city of Antigo will now take notice of one of the ideas that has come to fruition.  Located on the main fence outside of the Langlade County Fairgrounds are banners with each and every graduate’s senior picture adorning them.

The idea began just two short weeks ago and was the brainchild of the Pinnacle Group of Thrivent Financial, whose main office is in Antigo and includes representatives Jean Greening, Travis Rose, Tyler Jozwiak and Miranda (Resch) Borgemoen.

“Once our Pinnacle Group made the decision to move ahead to make this project happen we incorporated the services of others in the community to get it done,” Greening said. 

The first conversation was with Karl Schulz of Karl’s Transport, who has opened a print shop which the Pinnacle Group had used in the past for office signage.  Schulz gave his assurance if the project was a go, his shop could get it done in a short turn-around time.

The next contact was with Heather McCann at the school district, who put Greening in touch with Anita Mattek, who was all for the idea.  The school staff was willing to get the grad pictures to the Pinnacle Group quickly and assigned Bobbi Braun the task of gathering the senior yearbook pictures.

Mark Desotell with the city of Antigo was the next person to reach out to, as the biggest remaining obstacle was finding a visible spot in the city where the signs could be located, a spot readily seen and which would allow passer bys to “honk” their support for the grads.

With not nearly enough time to receive permission to post the banners on the street poles lining Highway 45 through town, Desotell talked with Langlade County representatives, who stepped forward to allow the fairgrounds location.

“Not only are the signs at a great community location, but they will also be accessible to walk up to and read,” Greening noted.  “People will be able to leave a congratulatory message on each sign.”

South Side Design and Graphics had the pictures and proof by Thursday of last week.  They began printing on Monday and on Thursday , crews hung them along the fence line for the entire community to enjoy.

“As a mother I was feeling pretty sorry for myself that I wouldn’t be able to see my youngest receive his degree two weeks ago at UW-Madison,” Greening said.  “If I was feeling that way I couldn’t imagine what the senior high school and college graduates across the country were feeling after years of hard work and I know many other parents felt the same way.

“This is their time for their hometown to say great work,” she continued.  “There’s no nightly reporting in the Journal of the home run of the night or the track record broken, prom recognition or kudos to the annual school play and no hanging out at school signing year books, this is the time that all great things come together for all the effort applied through the years.”

Residents will have an opportunity to drive by, honk, park inside the fairgrounds and walk the fence.  Bring a sharpie and write “kudos” to your favorite grads, drop a bouquet of flowers at your sister’s poster, etc.  

It’s Antigo’s chance to say well done and congratulations.