TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Even though her school is closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, a Michigan principal still found a way to deliver some good news to two deserving seniors.
Michelle Floering is the secondary principal at Grand Traverse Academy in Traverse City, Michigan. Her school has been closed since March 13, she said.
Usually the school notifies the students who earn the valedictorian and salutatorian honor in person, according to Floering. The senior class this year has 47 students.
With circumstances stopping that tradition, Floering said calling or video calling these students didn’t feel good enough.
“You always have to find the positive in every circumstance,” Floering said. “It is still OK to have celebrations.”
Without hesitation, Floering got in her car to personally deliver the news to Grand Traverse Academy’s valedictorian, Kaitlyn Watson while she was working at a local fast food chain.
“I called her (Watson’s) mom and she told me where she (Watson) was working as an essential employee,” Floering said. “I asked her if she thought Kaitlyn would mind if I showed up and she said no.”
In the video, Floering orders a drink and when she gets to the window, asks to see Watson.
“I wanna announce something to you today,” Floering said in the video. “You are GTA’s 2020 class valedictorian.”
Watson can be heard asking, “I am? Oh my gosh, thank you so much.”
She told CNN she was completely surprised by the gesture but this is just a testament to how close the school staff are with its students.
“It meant the world to me,” Watson said. “She (Floering) did not have to drive out there to tell me and she did. She really made an effort to make the moment so special.”
With senior milestones like prom, study abroad and graduation taken away from Watson and her senior peers, she said she’s grateful to hold onto this memory.
But that’s not the only surprise Floering had up her sleeve.
She said she knew she had to do something special to notify the school’s salutatorian, Alyssa Tarkowski as well.
Since Tarkowski is known for doing bottle flips and magic tricks, Floering incorporated that into her announcement and posted that to the school’s Facebook page too.
In the video, Floering can be seen doing a water bottle flip, a challenge where the goal is to make it land upright. After a successful toss, Floering lifts the bottle to show the message written on the bottom.
“Alyssa Tarkowski, congratulations GTA 2020 salutatorian,” the note said.
Floering said the school plans on reopening April 13, but it all depends on orders from Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.