Downtown honors GHS grads with banners


GREENVILLE — Main Street Greenville Executive Director Ryan Berry heard about it as soon as he took the position several months ago.

And he knew what he had to do.

As a result, you can now see Greenville High School Senior Banners displayed along downtown Greenville.

“I did not do this with the intent to make money,” Berry said. “I wanted to do something for the seniors that had missed out on so much.”

Berry understands from his daughter just how much they had missed out on.

“You look at what got taken away from them,” Berry said. “They missed out on prom, they missed out on spring sports, award banquets. Those who belonged to organizations on awards and things like that they would have gotten. It may have only been two months, but a lot was missed out on.”

So, Berry immediately talked to his design committee.

“They were on board with it,” Berry said. “I called the high school and Stan (Greenville High School principal Stan Hughes) said he had already heard form Joe Wintrow,”

Wintrow is the owner of Wintrow Signs & Designs.

“I talked to Joe (Wintrow) to see if he wanted to work together on something,” Berry said. “He was more than happy to do that. He took care of of the design and printing them off for us.”

Berry is happy with the response he got.

“We didn’t get half of the graduating class, but pretty close it,” he said. “The numbers were pretty good. And I have to thank all the individual sponsors I had had. They made it possible so that everybody who wanted a banner could have one.”

Berry was excited when he saw the end product.

“I think they really turned out great,” Berry said.

Greenville High School principal Stan Hughes agreed.

“And I think anything you can do to honor students is a good thing,” Hughes said. “Especially this senior class with everything they have been through. They might have had it as tough as any, having to do classes online the last two months.”

The plan was to have them up before the Greenville virtual graduation that aired at 7 p.m. Saturday.

But, Mother Nature had other ideas.

“There was no just no way we could put them up on Friday or Saturday with the rain and wind,” Berry said. “I really have to thank Ryan Delk, the Safety Service Director and the street department. They really did a great job.”

And the banners were much anticipated.

“People were definitely excited about it,” Berry said. “I have had a lot of response. The last couple a days I had a lot of people asking, ‘When are they going up, when are they going up?’”

Berry said he expects this to be a one-time thing.

“The reason being, it is a lot of work for the street department,” Berry said. “They are going to be up there in a couple weeks taking these down and replacing them with other banners. I shouldn’t say it is never going to happen again — hopefully, there won’t be another pandemic.”

But, if there is, Berry will be doing whatever he can to help out the seniors who missed out on so much — like the 2020 graduates.

Greenville High School Senior Banners, like Haleigh Benken’s, are on display in downtown Greenville. High School Senior Banners, like Haleigh Benken’s, are on display in downtown Greenville. Rob Kiser | The Daily Advocate

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