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Ravenna valedictorian gets a graduation surprise

"It was a little reminder of the good still happening in the world."
Credit: AMANDA DECKKER

RAVENNA, Mich. —  Ravenna High School (RHS) student Mackenzie Dekker is finishing her senior year at home after Michigan schools were ordered to temporarily close their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was definitely heartbreaking to have my last year cut short. I’ve loved every second at RHS. But I’ve adapted as best as I could, and I’ve tried to make the best of the situation," Dekker said.

Dekker earned the honor of co-valedictorian, but she and her family aren't sure they'll get to see her shine on the graduation stage, with news about the high school's ceremony still up in the air.

"I am not 100% sure of anything that is going to happen in regards to graduation. But if I am sure of anything, it is that I know my Principal Mr. Wilson, along with more of the Ravenna staff, will do everything they can to ensure that the seniors get the celebration they deserve," she said.

Someone in the community thought Dekker deserved recognition for her achievements, hanging decorations around the outside of her home and vehicle.

Credit: AMANDA DEKKER

Decorations included streamers and balloons representing RHS' school colors, and the words "Class of 2020" and "2020 Valedictorian" written on her car in white paint.

Credit: AMANDA DEKKER

"I was really happy to see the decorations! It was a little reminder of the good still happening in the world. I’m not sure who did it, but I am very thankful for whoever it was," Dekker said.

Neither the teen or her family know who was behind the kind act. Her mother Amanda, shared photos of the decorations on Facebook, saying "This is the biggest smile she (Mackenzie) has had in several weeks now!"

While the Dekker is uncertain of what's to come with graduation or the rest of the school year, she's encouraging the community that better days could be on the horizon.

"I know that these are tough times for everyone. There is so much uncertainty and sadness, but I encourage everyone to remain hopeful and remember that this too shall pass," she said.

RELATED: Schools prepare to stay closed the rest of the year

After finishing the school year, Dekker will begin the next phase of her education at Michigan State University.

Credit: AMANDA DEKKER

RELATED: 31 residents, 5 staff members test positive for COVID-19 at Cedar Springs nursing home

"I will be pursuing medicine and looking into becoming a Physicians Assistant or Nurse Practitioner, but I am not certain of what the end result will be," Dekker said.

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