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Group Surprises High School Seniors With Gifts

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A group of older high school graduates is on a mission to help celebrate the accomplishments of as many 2020 high school seniors missing out on dances, sports and ceremonies as they can.

“Just because we always reflect on the experience we had on the stage,” said Richie Marks, who graduated from Summit Academy High School in 2019. “To have that stripped away from you is nothing anybody should go through.”

Marks knows the experiences the members of the Class of 2020 are missing out on. He and several of his friends decided to put their money together and deliver gift boxes to as many high school seniors as they could, from Salt Lake City down to Bluffdale.

“So we wanted to do something to hopefully kind of makeup for it,” Marks said.

At each stop, some held up a huge “Congratulations” sign while one person hid in a box with an Iron Man mask and confetti and the others knocked on the door. Each visit and each gift was as surprising as it was selfless.

“I know that graduation is one of the biggest moments of our lives,” Marks said to a small group of seniors during a surprise visit. “We know it’s hard, but we do recognize your guys’ efforts. And congratulations! This is huge!”

“I’m really happy and I just love what they did,” said Brooke, a 2020 high school graduate on the receiving end of Marks’s kindness. “I just wasn’t expecting anything from graduation. I didn’t get to walk.”

Marks said they’ve spent roughly $500 to $600 of their own money to pay for supplies and gifts. But for the dozens of seniors from seven high schools they have already visited, the response has been priceless.

“Alright man, I know things are hard,” Marks said to another senior who answered the door. “I know you not graduating with your class is tough, especially because I know you put in a lot of work. You want to make your family proud. We wanted to let you know that we care and we’re very, very proud of you.”

“I know this isn’t a lot but we want to just surprise you guys and show you guys that we’re proud of you,” he said at the next stop.

It’s a reminder that a stage, a mass gathering and a cap and gown aren’t required to celebrate with and be there for someone else.

“I know this isn’t anywhere near as memorable,” Marks said. “But it’s still something to make them smile, something to cheer them up a little bit during this tough time.”

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