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Adopt a senior program is celebrating the class of 2020

| April 27, 2020

With the announcement that the Ohio schools will remain closed, high school seniors realized that their graduation was going to look a lot different than they ever dreamed. At the time of this writing, whether any type of ceremony would be held was still under discussion. A group of local people wanted to do something special for the seniors who are missing out on many very special memories.

Missy Mossman said, “These kids have worked so hard to get where they are and I want every single one to be recognized.” She has family in Texas who are participating in a Facebook “adopt-a-senior” page and asked a few friends if they thought it was something that could be done locally. Everyone thought it was a great idea, so the page was created – Coshocton County Adopt a Senior.

Mossman said that as the senior profiles are listed by a parent (or someone else with the parent’s permission) the community can read about the senior and choose to adopt him/her. They send a private message to the parent to find out what the senior likes and contact information and then they can spoil that senior. “I just want this to be unique for them. Something they’ll remember forever.” All contact is between the parent and the person who adopts the senior. Private conversations are discouraged.

Brandi Neighbor is another administrator for the group. Her son is a senior and she hopes this Facebook group will help him to know that his class, the Class of 2020, will not be the forgotten class. She hopes her son gets “encouraging words and community support” from the program. “As a parent, it has nothing to do regarding material things and everything to do about supporting each other during this time.  He has no idea this is even going on. Anything to brighten his day and make his last month as a senior a little brighter is all I want for him.”

Seeing this as an opportunity to support our local seniors is what led Carla Aronhalt to help with the project. “Many have missed out on sporting events, choir and band activities, dances, awards assemblies and more importantly, to just be able to be and do what kids usually do during this time of their lives.”

Aronhalt said when she thought about her own children and their experiences, she can’t imagine them having to give up those last moments of their senior year. “I knew I had to do something – something to make a tough situation on the kids and their families a little brighter. We have wonderful people in our county. Missy’s idea exploded within a few hours! Everyone wanted to help, and it amazed me how something so small grew so big so quickly. It’s a true testament to the love and support we have in Coshocton County. Hopefully, as they enter into wherever their lives take them, they can look back on this and remember that they were important and the community where they grew up appreciated them and their efforts.”

Memories of her son’s graduation made Lisa Adkins want to help with the project.  “I feel terrible for the seniors themselves, but my heart breaks for the parents who won’t get to experience those moments I shared with my son. They are missing out on making those memories together.”

Adkins also said that she hopes as the seniors get adopted, they realize they are part of something big. “I hope they appreciate what people are trying to do for them. It’s unconventional and not what they hoped their senior year would be, but I hope they know they have so many people who are proud of them.” She also shared that she hopes any student who isn’t a senior sees that not just their parents, but the whole community will be behind them. “As they go through school and anticipate their senior year, I hope they appreciate every moment together with their classmates and even teachers because they never know when the “lasts” will come.”

Seniors from every school in the county are on the page. Some posts include several pictures of the student, while others have just one. Short paragraphs include activities that they have been in or what their plans are after graduation. Seniors are getting adopted as quickly as their profile is added and the group hopes that every senior in the county will be included.

The administrators are asking anyone who knows a senior from any county school – Coshocton, River View, Ridgewood, Opportunity School, Christian School or homeschooled – to add them to the page. Anyone can add the student – with the parent’s permission, as they understand social media may not be available to every family. There are many people waiting to adopt and people are eager to recognize these students for their years of hard work.

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