Free meals for Class of 2020 turns into mini-graduation celebration 

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  • Merrimack Valley senior Forrest Green receives a cupcake from Alan’s Restaurant manager Christine Langley during the drive-through barbeque for the seniors. Green and his friends had just picked up their cap and gowns and headed to the restaurant to pick up their barbeque meals donated by the restaurant. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley High School senior Jake Coulombe gets ready to head out in his 1978 Chevy Nova after picking up a barbecue meal at Alan’s of Boscawen restaurant on Thursday. All Merrimack Valley seniors received a donated meal from the restaurant and a flower. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley High School seniors Jake Coulombe and Jordan Gagnon outside of Alan’s Restaurant on Thursday, May 28, 2020, where they picked up barbeque dinners after picking up their cap and gowns for graduation. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley High School senior Jordan Gagnon at the drive-thru line at Alan’s Restaurant in Boscawen where she and friends picked up their barbeque dinners donated by the restaurant on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Gagnon is attended Colby-Sawyer in the fall to study medicine. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chris Michael, food director for the Merrimack Valley School district, helps out giving out donated flowers from Marshall’s Florist for every MV senior at Alan’s Restaurant where the students got a barbeque meal as well on Thursday, May 28, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley High School senior Jake Coulombe gets ready to head out in his 1978 Chevy Nova after picking up their barbeque meals at Alan’s Restaurant on Thursday, May 28, 2020. All MV seniors received a donated meal from the restaurant and a flower. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley senior Forrest Green looks at the meals from Alan’s Restaurant manager Christine Langley during the drive-thru barbecue for the seniors. Green and his friends had just picked up their caps and gowns and headed to the restaurant to pick up their meals.

  • A sign for the Merrimack Valley High School seniors for their barbeque pickup at Alan’s Restaurant in Boscawen on Thursday, May 28, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley senior Jordan Gagnon was among the students honored at Alan’s of Boscawen restaurant on Thursday.

  • Jennifer Duquette takes a photograph of her daughter, Shevanna Young, just as the rotating Alan’s of Boscawen sign projects her name on their sign on Thursday. Every Merrimack Valley senior got a barbecue dinner donated from Alan’s, a rose from Marshall’s Florist and a personalized message on the electronic sign. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

Published: 5/28/2020 3:32:23 PM

Jake Coulombe pulled into the restaurant parking lot in his restored 1978 Chevy Nova and a mini-graduation celebration broke out.

Coulombe had just come from Merrimack Valley High School on Thursday with friends Jordan Gagnon and Forrest Green to pick up their yearbooks and caps and gowns for the school’s upcoming drive-thru graduation at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The parking lot at Alan’s of Boscawen was decorated with red, white and blue bunting, signs congratulating the senior class of 2020, silver and blue balloons, and the promise of free hot food.

Coulombe and company were already wearing their graduation caps.

“It would be nice to have the traditional ceremony but the fact that they’re all still coming together and trying to help us have a good time and get there is nice,” Coulombe said. “I think it really means a lot that they’re taking time out their day to get stuff done for us. It means a lot to me and I’m happy that they’re doing it.”

Each senior received a bagged meal of their choice, a cupcake, courtesy of Alan’s, and a rose that came from Marshall’s Florist in Boscawen.

As they waited for their hot food to come out, they took pictures and said hi to classmates they hadn’t seen in a while.

When Shevanna Young got to Alan’s she waited to see the personal message displayed for each graduate on the restaurant’s electronic sign out front.

“We’re so proud of you! Love Mom, Dad and Cory,” it said.

Different messages rotated through for every graduate.

“It feels kind of special,” Young said. “No one else got this kind of thing when they graduated. They just got their normal graduation. We got something else.”

Young’s mother, Jennifer Duquette, took a picture of her in front of the sign holding her new rose.

“I think it’s been great seeing the way the community has come out to make graduation special for these kids,” Duquette said. “It’s nice to see them honored and recognized.”

Christine Langley, the manager of Alan’s, said she and owner Alan Andrian wanted to offer a special meal for graduates. They reached out the school and came up with a plan to offer take-out orders of chicken tenders and fries, cheeseburgers with fries, or baked ziti as a vegetarian option. Everything worked seamlessly, Langley said.

“The kids are really happy,” Langley said. “We wanted them to feel special for the day because they’ve missed out on so much. So far so good.”

Green, who plans to become an auto mechanic, said he loves Alan’s.

“I can’t thank them enough for helping put this on and giving us the time to come get like a last school meal,” he said. “And it’s great to see the people here. Great. I really, really appreciate it.”




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