The cancellation of prom and in-person graduation has been disappointing for a lot of high school seniors. In an effort to honor those students beyond just virtual events, many communities in Massachusetts are organizing “adopt-a-senior” programs and surprising them with gifts.
"We worked 12 years for this moment: graduation, prom, senior activities," said 17 year old Alexandra Sheedy, who organized a program in Walpole and is supposed to graduate at the end of the month.
Most of these programs are essentially a gift exchange. Parents post a photo of their graduating senior in a Facebook group and someone volunteers to buy them a small gift from candy and gift cards to small dorm room supplies. Sometimes adopters know the kids. Other times, they’re complete strangers.
"My goal was for the seniors to know that everyone is rooting for them and we can get through this," Sheedy said.
Walpole High School recently sent out yard signs to seniors. But Sheedy wanted to give her classmates more of an opportunity to feel recognized even though they can’t be together.
"I just thought we deserved a little bit more so I took the extra step and it’s working wicked good," she added.
Sheedy’s community facebook page has a lot of pictures of students smiling and posing with their gifts after they find them on their front porch.
Paul Vozzella got his gift last week from a nearby community member. A mix of his favorite chocolate, a gift card and a note of encouragement came wrapped in a small bag with balloons.
"It makes me feel amazing," he said. "It just goes to show how tight knit our community is, especially our grade. It meant a lot that everyone in the senior class and their parents are pitching in to help each other out."
Vozzella added the small gift is also another big reminder that we’re all in this together.
This segment aired on May 1, 2020.