BOONE — A group created by parents of Watauga High School students seeks to have community members “Adopt A Senior” to “shower each unique student with love and appreciation,” according to the group.

The community came together for a similar initiative for the Class of 2020 last spring when state COVID-19 restrictions prevented schools from hosting students in person. This resulted in many high school seniors missing out on typical senior milestones. Through Facebook, community members found a way to “adopt” seniors in which they would agree to send the student some token to show support — such as mailing a card with a gift card inside.

The “Adopt A Senior” group for the Class of 2021 stated that the seniors are a “truly resilient group of kids” who have “persevered through the loss of a lot of milestones, as many have, and are ready to take on life after high school.”

Amy Forrester had a child who was a senior last year who benefited from the initiative, and has another senior at the high school this year as well. She said she was touched by the outreach last year, and wanted to help coordinate efforts for the group this year.

Forrester said that it’s the group’s intention to ensure that each senior is adopted in the short term by one community member until all interested seniors are posted and adopted. Once everyone is included, the group will announce that seniors can be adopted by multiple people and/or businesses. Community members can choose to “adopt” more than one senior.

“Needless to say, we don’t want to limit anyone’s celebration, so we encourage friends and family to support their seniors in other ways, as well,” Forrester said.

Forrester said the Facebook group is private in order to protect the privacy of the students, but community members can answer a few questions to verify their interest in the group and will be approved by administrators to participate.

To “adopt” a senior, a community member will need to comment on the post of the student they’d like to celebrate in the Facebook group. Community members are encouraged to choose a student they don’t know, or would not have otherwise gifted in this situation. The community members would then contact the poster and work out the details.

“We would love for anyone who knows a senior who doesn’t have a parent or other family member on Facebook to ask permission and post that senior on their behalf,” Forrester said. “Our goal is for every single interested child to be represented.”

Those posting in the group on behalf of a senior are asked to post a photo or a few of a WHS graduating senior along with a brief bio. A senior’s adopter should contact the person representing the senior via Facebook messenger to coordinate shipping or a contact-free meeting/drop off if needed.

There are no spending limits or minimums for a community members gift to the senior they “adopt.”

“We feel sure the seniors will feel grateful for whatever way you choose to celebrate them,” the group stated.

To adopt a senior, visit www.facebook.com/groups/684908425509329 or search for “Adopt a Senior Class of 2021” on Facebook. Questions about the initiative can be directed to the group’s Facebook page.

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