Signs for the area’s seniors
Published 3:35 pm Thursday, April 9, 2020
Albert Lea business gives away signs to support high school seniors
After seeing the final months of her senior year put into jeopardy, one area senior and her family came up with a creative way to come together and show solidarity with her classmates.
A senior at Albert Lea High School, Alexa Christensen works at Budget Signs, which is owned by her mother, Kelly Wangsness. While working during her time away from school, Christensen came up with the idea to make a sign she and her fellow seniors could place in their yards as a way to come together while being unable to physically attend school.
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“We saw there was already a lot of support out in the community for seniors,” Christensen said. “It was kind of my mom’s idea to get something started. She was the one who said we should do something to show our support, too.”
It started out with window decals to put on car windows. The idea for yard signs came after Christensen noticed all the yard signs that were already in people’s yards for various reasons and thought she could get a lot of support if they made signs of their own.
Through the Budget Signs Facebook page, Christensen tested the waters to see how many people would actually be interested if they got the signs made. Christensen said the response they got was overwhelmingly positive.
The signs also garnered the support of many area businesses that ended up sponsoring the signs and allowed Budget Signs to make and distribute the signs for free.
“There’s been a lot of traffic on them,” Christensen said. “A lot of messages and a lot of emails sent to us. I sat outside with my brother on Saturday and Sunday and we had people coming every five minutes and we were out there for a couple of hours. It was really nice to see how many people were coming out there and getting them.”
Budget Signs had 500 signs and stakes made, and thanks to its sponsors — Farmers State Bank, State Farm – Dave Klatt Agency, Chevrolet of Albert Lea, Main Street Auto, Auto Serve, Edward Jones, Johnson Heating and Air Conditioning and Cold Snap Outdoors — it was able to give them away for free.
“We had a lot of sponsors and they paid for the signs, the stakes and the vinyl that we used to create them and a lot of the ink that we’ve been using, so we decided it would be nice to give them out for free. That way more people can get them, and if people are struggling during this time, we wanted everyone to be able to get one.”
There are still signs available and anyone who wants to show their support for high school seniors is welcome to come and take one. Christensen said the best time to come and pick one up is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays at the store, which is at 1409 Eberhardt St. in Albert Lea.
Christensen said she and her classmates were told their whole high school careers that their senior year was going to be the best year. Now that they may not be going back to school for the rest of the year, it has a lot of them feeling sad. However, the support from the community around the signs has given her hope.
“We have loved supporting the seniors, especially being a senior myself,” Christensen said. “I have loved seeing all the support. It’s made me feel really good about the whole situation. I know a lot of seniors are super down about missing our senior year. Seeing all the support has created a lot of hope for me and I hope for other seniors as well. It’s amazing to see the community come together on this.”