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Nearly 220 Graduating Central Catholic High School Seniors Surprised With Gift Boxes

OAKLAND (KDKA) -- This month, almost 220 seniors were supposed to finish their school year at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School.

Just like most planned events this spring, the Coronavirus caused changes. It forced students to finish the year online.

"While there is a sense of loss, there is also something they found in themselves that will allow them to reach out and become better people," Principal Brother Tony Baginski said.

To raise the spirits of their seniors, the school put together gift boxes, with a note from the principal, a letter from a mentor, a t-shirt and a class picture.

"Something to show that we're thinking about them. We care about them, and they're still part of this brotherhood," Dr. Baginski said.

They sent school staff out to deliver them to each senior's home, giving the students the chance to see some familiar faces during these isolating times.

"I think it's just a great opportunity to give back to these guys. They put in so much work over the past four years," English teacher Kurt Retenauer said.

Retenauer is a 2008 graduate of Central Catholic. He was one of the couple dozen teachers taking the gifts out the seniors.

"Anything to brighten their spirits up and just give back to them. It's a great opportunity," he said while getting the gifts together.

For seniors like Ian Connolly, this was a way to have some closure on his high school years.

He was very thankful to Retenauer when he received a gift from his teacher of thee years in school.

There is hope the seniors can still celebrate a commencement ceremony in July.

"Fingers crossed we will have graduation in the summer," Connolly said.

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