FAIR school graduates shine in the heart of the Hennepin Theatre District

FAIR school graduates shine on a billboard

Hennepin Theatre Trust and Clear Channel Outdoor have partnered to celebrate and honor The FAIR School Downtown’s graduating class of 2020 by displaying messages of congratulations on the billboard atop 900 Hennepin in downtown’s Hennepin Theatre District. The messages will be on display throughout June.

Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust, hopes this project will help commemorate a uniquely challenging year for students and be a reminder that even in the face of COVID-19, it’s essential to continue moving forward. “The FAIR School is a beloved downtown neighbor and we wanted to recognize the amazing students graduating this year under the most challenging circumstances,” said Nerenhausen.

“We’re proud to join the Trust in acknowledging the accomplishments of this graduating class,” said Daniel Ballard, Minneapolis branch president of Clear Channel Outdoor who is donating its billboard space. “The strength and dedication of these students will guide them to becoming the future leaders, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

Student reactions to their virtual graduation have been positive and hopeful. They share a sentiment of fond memories of the supportive teachers and staff as well as an admiration for the talent and passion found in their classmates. During the online commencement ceremony for the 37 graduating seniors, FAIR School principal Mary Pat Cumming told students to show their pride telling them they “made it through a global crisis, COVID-19 and survived distance learning.”

She praised the class for their perseverance through challenges noting it will be their legacy and history. Among the many accomplishments of the class of 2020, Cumming also remarked 40% of this year’s graduating class completed at least one post-secondary class earning 340 college credits for a total of 28 full college semesters. One third of the class has attended The FAIR School for eight years or more with many making the honor roll their entire high school career.

The Trust and The FAIR School have been educational partners for many years providing enriching engagement and learning opportunities for students. “Ultimately, we share our time, resources and energy to help them succeed,” said Nerenhausen. “We’ve done just about everything with The FAIR School from masterclasses, events and public art installations to hosting their plays, open mic nights and even their proms in our event spaces.”

The congratulatory messages began earlier this month following an online commencement ceremony on May 30 and will run through the remainder of June.

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Thanks to our supporters, we are able to instill confidence and community connection in more than 6,000 students statewide through our arts education programs, elevate and financially support the creative works of local artists and provide meaningful arts and cultural experiences to the more than 600,000 people we bring to the Hennepin Theatre District annually. When you make a gift to Hennepin Theatre Trust, you are enabling cultural and economic vitality to flourish statewide. Please support the arts by giving a donation.