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Graduating senior's gift to her peers is signs, banners to mark milestone

Morgan Feld and her aunt Robin Eschenberg, owner

Morgan Feld and her aunt Robin Eschenberg, owner of Effects of Color in Hauppauge, are selling lawn signs and banners to help graduates feel recognized despite not having a traditional ceremony.  Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

The Class of 2020 may not be able to have a traditional graduation ceremony, but a Deer Park High School senior is offering them an option to celebrate the milestone with a sign or banner featuring their likeness that can be displayed outside their homes.

Morgan Feld, 17, is working with her aunt, Robin Eschenberg, owner of Effects of Color in Hauppauge, to make the signs, which are 18-by-24 inches and cost $28, and the banners. She said those can be any size but that customers typically purchase the 3-by-5, which costs $40, or the 4-by-8 foot, which is $60.

“I just wanted to show off recognition,” Feld said. “For me I wanted to do something good for my peers.”

Feld’s effort initially focused on her classmates within the hamlet, but she said it has since expanded to include students in the Half Hollow Hills and Commack school districts, resulting in more than 200 sales. 

On the sign and banners, people can place either a student’s face or a simple congratulations to the graduating class.

Eschenberg, who has owned her business for 30 years, said she suggested Feld sell banners and signs to help students celebrate their achievement. 

“We realized that kids would not have a typical graduation,” Eschenberg said. “She’s helping me as a small-business owner and she’s helping herself, as the money that she’s making will go into her college fund.”

Feld said she lost her part-time retail job as stores closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. She thought she would head back to school in a few weeks to finish the rest of the academic year, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on May 1 said all schools in the state would remain closed for the rest of the year to protect staff and students against COVID-19.

Feld’s mother, Stacy, 44, said that even though she won’t get to see her oldest child walk across a stage to get her diploma, she’s proud of her daughter’s initiative.

“She’s doing a positive thing for the community,” Stacy Feld said. 

Charlie Cobb, the principal of Deer Park High School, lauded what Feld is doing to pay tribute to her classmates but said he wants to make sure the senior class gets recognized.

“We’re going to do something, whether it’s nontraditional or whether it’s virtual,” Cobb said about having a graduation ceremony. “Our hope is to have one.”

Shannen Caldone, 41, a hamlet resident, said she wanted to celebrate daughter Makenzie’s achievement even if there is no graduation right away. She bought a sign with her daughter’s face on it. 

“At least seeing the sign will make her happy that we’re recognizing she’s graduating,” Caldone said. 

Once Feld graduates, she will attend SUNY Plattsburgh, where she plans to major in business administration. She said the sign and banner gig has been a good early prep for that. 

Sign makers

  • Lawn signs and banners take up to three weeks to complete.
  • Depending on where the signs or banners are going, Morgan Feld delivers them herself by car.

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