The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in its impact on people’s lives. Among its lasting impacts, it has wreaked havoc upon the final school years of many seniors in both college and high schools.

Among those are senior student-athletes who were hoping for one last chance to don their soon-to-be alma maters’ colors while taking to the court, field, course or track for one final season. For the past four weeks, including this one, the Coastal Point has been featuring four Indian River High School senior student-athletes with photos and responses to questions, just as if they were to have their original Senior Night festivities during their spring athletic seasons.

And while everyone awaits word from Gov. John Carney as to whether or not students will return to the classroom this year, state athletic directors all got together to figure out a way they could honor their senior student-athletes in the event the rest of the spring sports season is canceled.

On Friday, April 24, at 8 p.m., school athletic directors throughout the state will turn on the lights at their respective football stadiums — or soccer complexes if they don’t have football — for 20 minutes and 20 seconds, to honor the student-athletes of the Class of 2020. During that time, the senior student-athletes’ names will be broadcast over the loudspeakers to honor their efforts.

The events are not open to the public, and people should not go to Indian River High School during that time, as they will not be permitted into the parking lot area to be a part of the event there. However, there is a way for the public to witness the ceremony: The Coastal Point will be there, live-streaming the ceremony over the Coastal Point sports Facebook page, and it will also be available over the NFHS Network free of charge.

“We have been trying to figure out a way to honor the kids who would have been playing their final seasons,” Indian River High School athletic director Todd Fuhrmann said. “With not knowing whether there will be a shortened spring season, we knew we wanted to do something, and the DIAA offered this opportunity to recognize these athletes across the state. We felt like this was going to be a great way to do that.

“I’ll be turning the lights on to the stadium at exactly 8 p.m., and then I will read each senior’s name over the loudspeakers. The lights will stay on for exactly 20 minutes and 20 seconds.

“We have to emphasize that people cannot come to the school to watch and listen to this,” he reiterated. “We have partnered with NFHS to broadcast this over their network free of charge to people. And, thanks to the Coastal Point, you’ll also be able to watch it on their Facebook page as well.”

There are around 50 senior student-athletes that were on rosters this spring before the forced COVID-19 shutdown across the state and country. The ceremony is designed as a gesture for the schools to present their seniors, especially since the waiting game is not the actual game they want to be a part of right now.

Staff Reporter

Jason has been in journalism for 20 years. He moved to Coastal Delaware in August 2017 with his wife, Jessica, and their daughters, Kylie, 17, and Grace, 12. He has a passion for high-school sports and especially values the relationships that builds.