Group offers chance to ‘adopt’ high school seniors

Published 6:20 pm Friday, May 1, 2020

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For the class of 2020, the closing of schools for the rest of the semester means a lot of missed milestones. Special senior recognitions, proms, traditional graduation ceremonies — all have seemingly disappeared in the blink of an eye. But one local student has started a grassroots effort to give Beaufort County seniors their moment in the sun.

Like many soon-to-be graduates across the state, Northside High School senior Emily Gurganus has watched the final months of her senior year fall victim to the coronavirus.

“You go through school for 13 years and your senior prom is one of the things you most look forward to. Then your senior walk across the stage is one of the biggest accomplishments that some of the seniors may ever have. Missing that is just hard on all of us,” Gurganus said.

In an effort to show some love to her fellow graduates, Gurganus took to social media this week, starting a new group called “Adopt a Senior — Beaufort County.” There, local residents can volunteer to provide gifts and words of encouragement for local students.

“I used to live in Charlotte and my old school started one and invited me to it,” Gurganus said. “But since it was just for their county, I decided I would make a page for here. “

Here’s how it works. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the page on Facebook and post photos and a brief bio of their students — where they go to school, some of their high school activities and accomplishments, as well as plans for the future. They’re also asked to share some of their child’s favorite foods, places to eat and potential gift items. Seniors can also make posts for themselves.

Then, in turn, other members of the group are encouraged to “adopt” seniors as they are able, sending them cards with encouraging words, gift baskets/cards or anything else they think would be uplifting to that particular student. Anyone can adopt a senior.

“Seniors can actually feel their love coming through those gifts,” Gurganus said.

Since Gurganus started the page on Tuesday, membership has grown tremendously, jumping to more than 1,200 members in about 48 hours. In that time, hundreds of local seniors have been posted and subsequently adopted by the community. The group has also led to a grassroots effort by some students and parents to try and put on a prom for seniors sometime this summer, after COVID-19 restrictions are eased. Gurganus says details haven’t been finalized on that quite yet, but she’s appreciative of the support the community has shown so far.

“Thank you to all the people that are supporting all of the seniors,” Gurganus said. “It is much needed to get us through these hard times.”

Those wishing to adopt a senior or share their own child’s story can find the group on Facebook by searching “Adopt a Senior – Beaufort County.”