Adopt-a-Senior projects celebrate graduating high school students

Local News

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — With prom and graduation still up in the air for many high school seniors and schools closed due to COVID-19, one local group is looking to spread kindness and show students they care.

Allen County Adopt a Senior is a Facebook group dedicated to lifting the spirits of high school seniors by sending them a gift. The gift can be a letter, a gift card, snacks, or a kind gesture.

But the program offers seniors more than just gifts.

“I just wanted to make sure that all of these seniors had the opportunity to make some memories at the end of their senior year that otherwise would not have had,” co-founder of Allen County Adopt a Senior, Amber Stine, said.

Here’s how it works.

  • A senior student or the parent of senior makes a post on the group’s Facebook page, Allen County Adopt a Senior.
  • The post starts with the words “not adopted” and then includes the student’s name, where they go to school, details about their future plans, and a few pictures.
  • For those looking to adopt a senior, you simply comment on the post of the senior you want to adopt.
  • When a student is adopted, the post will be edited to say adopted.
  • Each student is allowed to be adopted three times so that every student gets to participate.
  • Any high school senior in Allen County and any resident looking to adopt a senior is welcome to participate.

“I think this is just super amazing,” Snider High School senior Irasema Hernandez said. “It’s such a great experience, not just on my hands but on the hands of all the people that are impacted because you get to at least share and celebrate your successes with others. I think that’s really important right now especially with everything going on with all these unexpected circumstances to celebrate even those small things you know?”

“It’s so nerve-wracking at first just because of the unknown, you don’t know what people are going to think, you don’t know if anyone is going to adopt you,” South Side High School senior Skylyn Sours said. “There are so many people willing to help you’re going to get adopted by somebody so I think you should go for it. It’s definitely a way to make you feel better during this time when everything is so confusing.”

“It actually means a lot to us, seniors, because everything had to get cut short,” Bishop Dwenger High School senior Sabrina Cortezano said. “It kind of brightens your day which it already brightens my day up.”

Sabrina Cortezano, Irasema Hernandez, and Skylyn Sours have all been adopted in the group, and they aren’t alone. In a week the group has gone from 34 members to almost 2,000 – something Stine said she never expected.

“I don’t think a senior go a couple of hours without being adopted,” Stine said. “It’s been a really neat thing. I think at any given point there are only one or two seniors on the page that are not adopted and they’ve been on the page for two hours or less.”

Stine got the idea from a similar group called Northeast Indiana Adopt a Senior 2020 that covers seniors for DeKalb, Noble, Steuben, or LaGrange counties. Stine’s children are currently not seniors but felt the need to start the movement in Allen County.

“I could not imagine my senior year coming to an abrupt stop,” Stine said. “I wanted to make sure all these seniors have the opportunity to make some memories at the end of their senior year that they otherwise would not have had or been able to do.”

When she created the group Allen County Adopt a 2020 Senior another group called Adopt a Senior Class of 2020 Allen County also formed. Now the two groups work together to bring joy to seniors in the county. Seniors are asked to sign up for one group or the other, but not both.

Stine says the group will stay open well into gradation party season.

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