High school graduate releases balloons with notes; one found 300 miles away

Lizzie Hinchey, from Dinwiddie, Virginia, came across one of the balloons Olivia Wodnicki...
Lizzie Hinchey, from Dinwiddie, Virginia, came across one of the balloons Olivia Wodnicki released (credit: Hinchey)(WDTV)
Published: May. 29, 2020 at 4:14 PM EDT
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As COVID-19 has changed the way graduating seniors are able to celebrate, one West Virginia graduate found a way to celebrate with more than just her family and friends.

Instead of throwing her graduation cap in the air, Olivia Wodnicki released balloons with a note attached.

It was an idea that came from a friend.

“There’s a page on Facebook called 'Adopt a senior from Harrison County,' and one of our friends adopted me on there,” Olivia said. “She came over and she surprised me and brought a bunch of balloons and said we’re releasing twenty balloons, so that way people can find them and send them back,” she said.

Someone from Dinwiddie, Virginia, came across one of Olivia’s balloons in her backyard.

“I just got home and my dog started going crazy, so I looked outside and I noticed a balloon,” Lizzie Hinchey said. “I didn’t think much of it.”

She didn’t give it much thought until she read the note that was attached and realized it was from a graduating senior.

“I just graduated three years ago and I can’t imagine what she’s going through.”

Hinchey said she will be sending back a letter to Olivia soon.

Olivia said she is excited to hear back from Hinchey and hopefully others. Just like for many graduates, it’s a tough time for Olivia and she’s glad she gets to celebrate in a unique way.

“I’m actually a home school student,” Olivia said. “So people celebrating with me is extra special since I don’t get to participate in everything that the public school kids do,” she said.

Which makes this a special moment for Olivia, and Hinchey, who found the balloon.

“To know that she was excited to find the balloon and it made her happy, it was just an extra plus,” Olivia’s mother, Carla Wodnicki said.

Olivia said she hopes that anyone else who comes across a balloon with the note will support it and join her in celebrating her most recent accomplishment.