Fairfax County Athletics surprises senior students, lights up 25 stadiums simultaneously

Virginia

“We all connected last night."

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — It was kept under wraps for four weeks, but the end result took the county’s breath away. Fairfax County’s activities and athletics departments pulled off a graduation surprise for their seniors Wednesday night: at 8:20 (20:20 military time), each of the county’s 25 stadiums were lit up. 

“Everybody can remember their prom, everybody can remember their graduation. Everybody can remember that last semester senior year. That atmosphere changes,” said Bill Curran, Fairfax County’s director of activities and athletics. “Those were certain things we all had and so now they’re missing it. So we’re finding ways to replace it and finding ways to make up for that.”

Curran says this is something high school athletic departments have been doing across the country at the recommendation of the National Federation of High Schools (the governing body of high school athletics). While students and faculty are separated from one another during the pandemic, coaches have been a special bridge between them. 

This was the best recognition the county could make under CDC and the Fairfax Health Department’s guidelines. They kept it a secret to avoid large crowds. 

“We all connected last night. Even though it was kind of a secret we all still – there was very quickly this kind of connection that everybody felt,” Curran said. And it was all made possible thanks to the directors of student services at each school, who had to be onsite to make it happen at the exact same time. Photos and videos were posted to Twitter and Instagram immediately after the lights came on, and they were met with an overwhelmingly positive response.

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