By Haley Grinder
Special to the Pioneer

The graduating class of 2021 from David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) will have their photos displayed in the front window of Toby Theatre this year.

Sophie Timothy wanted to honour the graduates in a unique way this year due to the struggles they faced finishing school amidst the pandemic. Timothy has been a custodian at DTSS since 2010. Before that, she worked as a teacher’s aide with Rocky Mountain School District No. 6 since 1995.

“I just wanted something special for them,” she says.

After being approached by Timothy, Ron and Elizabeth Peters generously allowed the front windows to be used to display all of the graduating student’s signature cap-and-gown photos. Their two daughters had graduated from David Thompson School as well.

Elizabeth says it is important ”to encourage the kids who were graduating and future kids to graduate.” With the theatre being closed since Sept. 2014, the pair was more than happy to offer their help however they could.

“If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s whatever you can do positive today, you do it because you may not have tomorrow,” says Elizabeth.

However, they give full credit to Timothy for organizing the tribute and inspiring themselves and future graduates.

“Those kids do deserve the hurrah because they went through [such] a hard year,” says Timothy, who grew a strong connection with the kids over the years. Being in the school all the time, it was difficult to witness the usual lively, noisy hallways shift to a deafening silence. Now, she says it’s nice to see the parents, students, and staff talking and smiling again in the school, even while socially distancing. “It puts a smile on my face.”

She stresses that “it takes a community to raise a child, and the community needs to see our amazing grads right.” Timothy wanted to maintain that community element by posting the grad photos in town for all to see.

DTSS funded Timothy’s movement this year, but many were involved in the process.

Lori Watt, owner of Valley Sign Artists, put together the weather-proof posters of the students under a time crunch of only a week after Timothy asked for her help. The posters were designed by Timothy’s long-time friend— graphic designer, photographer, and printing specialist, Lisa Ede, from Redneck Hippy Design Studio.

“I have an idea. I go to Lisa, and she just makes things happen,” says Timothy.

Elizabeth says she has already seen many walking through town stop and smile at the posters. There is currently no end date in sight for the display’s removal.