In an effort to create positive memories for its graduating students amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Sherman Independent School District recognized its top 10 students of of the 2020 class Thursday.

About a dozen teachers, administrators and district staff visited the homes of the top 10 and presented them with yard signs, declaring their accomplishments.

“This is the time of the year when we announce the top ten students in order with your val (valedictorian) and sal (salutatorian) and the other top ten,” Sherman High School Principal Jenifer Politi said.

Traditionally, the students would be recognized by the district during the of year events and awards ceremonies, however many of these events, including the spring prom, have been canceled due to the health crisis.

“Normally I call them in one-by-one and talk to them in person. Unfortunately, we cannot do the ceremony at a school board meeting or we would also have an opportunity to give the awards at the annual awards ceremony. So we are going to go to their houses and deliver yard signs that say top ten and celebrate with them.”

The first stop for administrators on Thursday was at the home of Sarah McGinn, who is the Valedictorian for 2020’s class.

“I found out about this yesterday,” McGinn said. “I have been the salutatorian for the last year and a half, I’m not really sure, and I wasn’t expecting to go up to number one. ”

McGinn said her high school years involved lots of studying, especially for calculus. During Thursday’s presentation McGinn said she remembers studying for about give hours a day in the two weeks leading up to World History exams in her sophomore year.

Now that graduation is on the horizon, she said she is looking forward to studying English, psychology and music in college.

“I got into 11 colleges and the decision date is tomorrow,” she said. “I haven’t made an official decision but I am pretty sure I will be attending Williams College up in Massachusetts.”

In addition to providing the top ten with their recognitions, the top one percent of the graduating class were each present with a $1,500 scholarship on behalf of the SISD School Board of Trustees.

“They worked hard for many, many, many years to hold their rankings and it is just an exciting time for our seniors,” Politi said.

This is the second time that the district has used the yard signs as a way to recognize the graduating class. Last week, district representatives delivered more than 400 signs to the graduating seniors.

Despite canceling many of the student recognitions for 2020, Politi said school and district administrators are coming up with ways to recognize the graduating class.

Previously, the district announced that it would be rolling out senior photos each day through graduation. On Thursday, Politi said the district will also be displaying student

“What is great is what comes from this will become a new tradition for the next graduating class,” Politi said, noting that administrators plan to keep this tradition in future years.

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at