High School Principal Writes Encouraging Notes For All 459 Graduating Students

A high school principal made graduation day extra special for all 459 graduating seniors with a special handwritten letter for each of them.

principal letter to graduates Jeff Reaves

Matanzas High School Principal Jeff Reaves went above and beyond to present the recent graduating class with a personal, handwritten letter before they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas earlier this month.

Reaves was appointed as principal four years ago when the graduating seniors were freshmen. He searched through “yearbooks, student files and transcripts,” as well as conversations and relationships, to make each letter unique.

The principal wrote the notes from March through graduation day. “I want to be positive for our students, especially in a time where there’s a lot of negativity and turmoil in the world,” Reaves said. “I wanted to shine some light on the students and encourage them as they begin their next journey in life.”

“It was as much for me like them and I got the chance to learn about each student individually,” he continued. “It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, but it’s the names that really matter. I was doing my part to help them feel connected as a community and have their high school experience to be positive.”

Lisa Kittrell, a culinary arts teacher at Matanzas High School, said she had never seen a principal do something sweet like this in her 15 years at the school, and 25 in education overall. “It shows he really cares for the students,” she added. “It was just very exciting and very moving.”

“When the little girl, who was sitting in my row at graduation, opened up her note and read it, she went ‘Wow, I can’t believe he did this and remembered this about me,'” Kittrell said. “It was just so touching that he did that for all of the graduates. It was just so touching.”

Parents of the graduating students were also moved by his act of saying goodbye to the graduating class in such a meaningful way.

Posting to Matanzas High School’s Facebook page, one parent, Traci Carter, called the gesture “very sweet and the first I’ve heard of,” adding, “This touch[ed] my graduate! Principal Reaves went above and beyond here and my child will never forget him.”

Lisa Kern-Asbill, a parent, agreed, writing Reaves “is a wonderful addition to MHS!” as Patty Mill said it was “such a heartfelt gift to each of his students.”

Reaves responded to all the comments on the school Facebook page saying he was proud to do something that so many found to be “meaningful.”

“It’s a sense of accomplishment that we were able to do most things and that was meaningful to seniors and families,” the principal said. “It’s really about the students, and across our country, there are teachers and educators who do things like this to make a great impression on these students.”

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