#BeTheLightCOS: Celebrating the Class of 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - It’s been a tough year for high school seniors.

Academy School District 20 lights up its stadium on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Many classic end-of-high school rites of passage have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a way to honor graduating seniors, the city of Colorado Springs is encouraging people to light up their homes and businesses at 8:20 p.m. Wednesday, which is 20:20 in military time.

“We wanted some sort of symbolic, unifying event that told seniors, ‘Hey, this whole city is thinking of you and we are supporting you,’” said Joe Hollmann, a marketing specialist for the city. “‘It’s not just your teachers, and it’s not just your families, but complete strangers and people in this community. We care about you, and we’re thinking about you, and we can’t wait to see what your next steps into the future look like.’”

The city is asking people to keep their lights on for one hour. Several businesses and organizations have already committed to participating.

“We even have Palmer Lake, they’re lighting up their star. We have a school in Cañon City that is lighting up one of their high school stadiums. All the way up into the mountains where the North Pole is going to light up their Ferris wheel,” Hollmann said. “We’re working with the parks department to light up sports complexes, the police and fire departments to light up vehicles and some of the stations. The airport even is getting on board and lighting up a runway strip.”

You can see a full list of places that have committed to turning on their lights Wednesday night on this map.

If people at home want to participate, the city has the following suggestions:

  • Go outside with flashlights, glow sticks, holiday lights or other tools for this hour.

  • Turn headlights on in parked vehicles outside.

“For residents, what we’re really asking is to light up anything that’s in your house, whether that’s your porch light. Maybe you don’t normally light up your porch light. If you do, that’s great. Just keep on doing that,” Hollmann said.

“Be the Light” started as a national campaign with high schools around the country turning on their stadium lights to remind students their school still cares about them even though they’re remote learning. The city is asking people to share a picture of them participating in the campaign on social media with #BeTheLightCOS along with a congratulatory message for the Class of 2020.