Due to the coronavirus, millions of high school, undergraduate and graduate students won’t be able to publicly celebrate the achievement they’ve worked four or more years for — earning their degree. While some students have hosted their own at-home ceremonies via Zoom, there’s something special about having a community to relish your achievement with you.
That’s why Century 21 North East broker-owner Jim D’Amico started ‘The Relentless Senior of the Day,’ a social media campaign to highlight and honor the seniors in the 40 markets his brokerage serves throughout New England.
“I thought, this is where we can create some happiness,” he said in a written statement. “I came up with the Relentless High School Senior of the Month and then when I thought of all the seniors affected we quickly went with the Senior of the Day.”
In a phone call with Inman, D’Amico provided additional insight into his initiative, saying that he was moved by local news reports and social media stories about seniors grieving the loss of their graduation and prom.
“There’s been a lot of stories on the news locally and on social media about what all the kids are giving up from prom to graduation to all the fun stuff kids get to do when they’re seniors,” he said. “It’s the last chance they get to spend with their friends before they go off to college or start a job.”
D’Amico said he initially tried to collaborate with local leaders to create citywide senior banners or signs, but the rigmarole caused him to go back to the drawing board.
“There were a lot of restrictions and guidelines with the cities, so we decided to take matters into our own hands and create something we could control,” he said. “We currently have 40 locations throughout New England, and we thought this was a good way to honor seniors throughout all of our communities.”
So, D’Amico’s team went to social media and asked parents and teachers to nominate seniors with a simple Google Form that asked for the student’s contact information and a kind note as to why they were nominated. Within the first few days, the team received hundreds of nominations from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island.
“We couldn’t do it once a month because how many kids could we actually honor?” D’Amico said of the flood of nominations his team received. “So, we decided to pick a senior every day and we’ll send them a graduation card and a $50 Amazon gift card, and promote them as the ‘Senior of the Day’ on social media.”
So far, C21 North East has featured 11 seniors who shared their senior pictures and a brief synopsis of their future plans, which include dreams of studying chemistry, physics, and culinary arts. The brokerage has also started a digital yearbook, which they’ll add to each day as a new senior is honored.
“The communities have really embraced it,” D’Amico said while noting parents and teachers have helped the initiative grow. “A lot of people have thanked us and said it’s something that not too many people are doing.”
D’Amico said the brokerage will continue ‘The Relentless Senior of the Day’ until they get through all of the nominations, which at this point, will take over a year.
In addition to his senior initiative, D’Amico has the ‘Relentless Hero of the Month,’ which highlights teachers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, and other good samaritans in the communities they serve. The winner gets a VIP experience at a Boston Bruins game, which has been temporarily suspended due to the virus.
“We’ve [honored] somebody who saved a family from a burning car that we saw on the news,” he said. “These are the people who need to be recognized in our communities.”
Although the ‘relentless’ title comes from C21 corporate’s new branding, D’Amico said the word has a special meaning to him and perfectly reflects the spirit of the seniors and first responders his brokerage highlights.
“The word has a unique backstory for me because we were growing at a fast pace,” he explained. “Back in 2016 or 2017 C21 [corporate] asked us how we were recruiting so well and growing so fast.”
“I said, ‘We’re relentless. We don’t stop and we don’t quit. We do this all the time and this is our focus.'” he concluded. “We feel relentless stands for those that don’t quit and keep trying and keep striving. That’s who the seniors and first responders are.”