Even plywood and paint can be tools for success.
The shadows draping off the small signs along the road leading into Boys Ranch grow bigger, stretching out tall as the sun moves from one horizon to the other each day.
These signs, each bearing the name of a Boys Ranch High School graduate, are placed along the paved road in May. They stay in place until the graduation ceremonies and celebrations are all over.
The signs are part of a tradition that began in 2005, when Tim and Susan Nation, who then were houseparents, saw a senior girl struggling to make it to graduation. She was 18 and talked at length about leaving school without a diploma in hand.
Nation told the girl he planned to put her name on a sign that would go along the road for everyone to see. He would let everyone know she was graduating.
He recruited her to help, cutting, sanding and painting the signs.
“She needed to feel that others were as proud of her accomplishment of graduating just as she was,” said Susan Nation, remembering back. “We also wanted to help her feel like she wasn’t losing her Boys Ranch ties, only moving on to the next stage.”
The Nations are now retired from work at Boys Ranch, but Tim Nation still created the 2022 signs.
In the future, Hal Davis will continue the tradition that reminds graduates that they are important and that their success has meaning.