Pink flamingos flocking to Johnston County to celebrate the Class of 2020

CLAYTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- While you can find flamingos from the shores of the Caribbean to the Middle East, it was peculiar when flocks of the pink plastic versions of the bird suddenly migrated to front yards all over Johnston County.

"I was sitting down eating dinner and my mom was like get up, go outside. And I just saw a bunch of flamingos in my yard," 18-year old Mackenzie Holzer explained. "I've noticed when people drive by they definitely do a double take."

Holzer, a graduating senior at Corinth Holders High School, had become one of the first students to get "flocked."

Melissa Brown is behind the local version of this unique tribute that she first saw happening in New Jersey. The Clayton stay-at-home mom has been spending her time in quarantine trying to turn the problems of the pandemic into opportunities to give back.

She and a small group of local moms created Flock-a-Senior JoCo as a way to honor the Class of 2020 -- all of the local high school seniors whose final year in high school was ripped right from under them with the shutdown.

"There's girls out there that bought their prom dress; a couple of girls on the Cleveland High varsity soccer team that worked their entire career for their last season and can't do it," Brown said. "That's why I'm doing it, for every single one of these seniors that COVID has ruined their year."

And the flamingo flocks are catching on quickly around JoCo. For $25, you can flock a senior. Half of the money goes to support the Junior Women's League of Smithfield's blessings box program which provides food for needy families.

Brown says her group has already booked flocks for the rest of the month.

"We also have multiple bookings all through June," she said. "So we're able to do six a night. I'm assuming that we will be full every single night."

ABC11 first met Brown in March. She and Bev Schechtman had just launched FLAG of Clayton. The frontline appreciation group was raising money to feed workers on the frontlines of the pandemic while simultaneously supporting struggling local restaurants. A month and half later - FLAG of Clayton has served 1,500 meals and is now looking toward creating a new bright spot amid the darkness in the form of plastic flamingos.

"One person can change a little piece of the world," Brown said when asked what she's learned about herself through her new endeavors. "I can bring happiness in very small ways."

Click here if you're interested in flocking a Johnston County senior or simply donating to support the Junior Women's League.
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