You can ‘adopt’ a senior to help make their last year of high school special amid pandemic

You can ‘adopt’ a senior to help make their last year of high school special amid pandemic
Posted at 5:57 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 23:03:07-04

NORFOLK, Va. - High school seniors across the country are missing out on big milestones due to coronavirus, like prom, graduation and other senior sendoff events.

"I've cried quite a few times just because it’s like we're missing out on things. Even if they are small monumental moments, they still are things I had the expectation of happening,” said one senior. “Like I said, the walk through the school and the senior prank and senior skip, all that stuff."

2020 is a big year for Hannah DeSpiegelaere.

But she told News 3 the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted her senior year at Norview High School in Norfolk.

“It’s very difficult,” Hannah said. “I don’t get to go to school like I normally do, and I don’t get to see my friends.”

Across the state, Norfolk native Ashlyn Moorman is getting ready to graduate from Virginia Tech virtually, with her ceremony moved online.

“It definitely kind of feels like there was no proper ending,” Ashlyn said.

“I know how hard she’s worked, [and] how much this means to our family,” Ashlyn’s older sister, Katie Moorman, said.

Now, groups are making sure seniors still end their year in a special way.

Both families learned about a new Facebook group, Virginia "Adopt a Senior" 2020, a group where anyone can connect and show support to seniors.

Lindsay Hobson ended up adopting Hannah in the group.

“I thought it would be different to reach out and try to reach out to somebody that I didn’t know,” Hobson said.

“It means a lot, because there’s people that are out there that care about how other people are feeling,” Crystal DeSpiegelaere said.

For Ashlyn, she was "adopted" by Shannon Ward.

“I felt an immediate connection to her,” Ward said. “I went on Amazon and started ordering little gifts for her.”

“Especially in a time like this, a stranger doing this for me - it just makes my heart grow 10 sizes,” Ashlyn added.

Kelly Dodson’s daughter, Kennedi Carr, was also adopted through the group by Stephanie Duke.

“Some of these people are complete strangers, and that’s just awesome,” Carr said of the group.

“I thought it was a great way for these children to be able to be recognized for their hard work, despite the pandemic,” Dodson said.

It’s a little extra cheer for many completing a new chapter.

“It’s the small things that really matter,” Ashlyn Moorman said. “It’s the small things that are helping people keep hope in such a dark time.”

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.