Branford High girls, boys tennis teams inventively honor Class of 2020

Branford High School tennis senior captains Eli Hanlon, Sarah Berdon, and Jaden Andresen in front of their message to the Class of 2020. Missing: senior girls’ captains Samantha Velardi and Ellie Bartlett, and senior boys’ captain Jason Hackett.

BRANFORD — In early June, members of Branford High School’s girls and boys tennis teams found themselves staring at the school’s tennis courts.

“They looked empty and depressing,” said senior captain Sarah Berdon, noting that they were practicing social distancing at the time.

“Since our season ended before it even started, we wanted to do something for our whole team and especially our seniors,” said Eli Hanlon, a senior captain.

They discussed a banner. That seemed fine, if ordinary. Then someone came up with a better idea, one that would highlight, in fluorescent tennis-ball yellow, their mission, as Berdon put it, “to recognize all the seniors in a special way.”

As they were meticulously placing the balls in the chain-link fence, cars honked, Berdon reported. That made it even better.

“It was a bittersweet ending to our seniors’ high school careers,” said BHS boys’ coach Paul Gagliardi, who supplied the tennis balls.

That said, “they’re a great group of tennis players who excelled on and off the court who will undoubtedly go on to do great things in the future.”

Connecticut Media Group