By Alecia Reid

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — A call for small donations led to a huge gesture for a South Jersey high school’s graduating class. The seniors are being honored by residents and business owners in Washington Township.

Businesses across Washington Township are collaborating in order to honor this year’s high school seniors.

It’s a kickoff to graduation. Each of the 800 teachers from Washington Township is being awarded roses.

“It’s amazing. It’s very sweet, very sweet,” Marissa Yaker said.

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It was an emotional day for many. The teachers also got a gift card for a meal.

But the stars of the show are the 500-plus seniors who will all get generous donations from the community.

“So I called Chick-fil-A and they said yes, then I called Angelo’s Pizza and they said yes,” said Martino Cartier, with Wigs & Wishes Salon.

It was just an overwhelming response. Donations include a scholarship, gift cards to numerous restaurants, perfume — you name it. There were even $200 gift certificates for six special graduates.

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“Three of them lost a parent this year due to cancer,” Dean Auer said. “And there were three other students dealing with a parent that is dealing with cancer.”

The value of all this is upwards of $100,000. But it’s not about that.

Tough times call for good deeds.

“At the end of the day, it’s about the people and it’s about taking care of our community,” said Patrick Powers, with McDonald’s.


“Hopefully bring them some joy in a time of terrible sadness for them,” Washington Township High School principal Jonathan Strout said.

Starting Monday, and over the next few weeks, the Washington Township High School principal will be visiting each student’s home to drop off those gift bags before their June 18 virtual graduation.