As senior students across the nation find themselves not being able to finish the school year through the traditional end-of-high-school activities, parents and staff at a Dallas ISD high school created a heart-warming initiative to bring smiles to seniors.
The Adopt a Senior campaign was created by a group of parents and several staff members at Sunset High School.
Parent Ramona DeLeon says she was sad about seeing her daughter miss prom in the midst of the COVID-19 restrictions, and all she wanted was to find a way to bring a smile to her daughters’ and classmates’ faces.
“I thought that maybe getting the kids adopted by people in our community would brighten up their day,” said DeLeon.
How does the Adopt a Senior campaign work? It’s very simple – the group of parents and Sunset staff leading the initiative created the Sunset Seniors 2020 “Adopt a Senior” Facebook group. Students’ profiles and photos are shared in the group by a parent, relative or close friend with the hope that the student ‘gets adopted.’ Community members, including alumni, adopt a student and present them with gifts from their wish list, messages of support and other celebratory items.
The campaign has had an overwhelming community response to the point that others have replicated the initiative to brighten the day for other seniors in the Oak Cliff area.
“I didn’t know we would have such a huge response,” said senior mom and Sunset alum April Ortiz. “When we began the initiative, I thought I was going have to adopt as many students as I could myself because I wouldn’t want anyone being left behind, but I barely have been able to snatch one up myself! The students are being adopted within minutes of posting. We have many people wanting to be adopters, even alumni who graduated over 50 years ago. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.”
“Thank you, a million times over,” said Sunset High School Principal Claudia Vega. “The compassion and community that has evolved through this campaign demonstrate the power of partnerships and collaboration. Our parents, alumni and faculty all joined forces to uplift and support our seniors during this unforeseen time. A true demonstration of the everlasting Sunset spirit. ”
Almost 200 Sunset seniors have been adopted so far. The cheerful and smiling faces of students receiving their packages and gifts continue to appear through photos on the Facebook group, and they are just priceless!
“I want our seniors to know that they live in a community of believers,” said Vega. “We all believe in them, in their abilities and in their future. This overwhelming support of kindness is a symbol of Oak Cliff’s heart. Carry this belief with you and into your future.”