LaBELLE - Most of us know that the graduating High School seniors, the Class of 2020, have lost so much after spending so much of their young lives in school, studying, learning, and testing. One of the biggest rewards, for all their hard work, is the last few months of events and socializing with their classmates before the end of school. Though, this was abruptly cut short, due to the COVID-19 crisis. But true to the spirit of our community, LaBelle isn’t letting these seniors go unsupported.
“Due to the circumstances of High School Seniors missing out on their senior activities, we have come to the decision as a community to acknowledge and support our Seniors during this tough time by adopting a LaBelle High School senior. Adopting a Senior is to gift seniors with gifts of encouragement! Whether it’s a gift basket, college gear or even essential items for their dorm rooms, it will show them we as a community are with them!” wrote Carlena Leeper, in the Facebook Group she started for the local Adopt-A-Senior project.
“To become adopted, post on ‘LaBelle High School adopt a graduating Senior’ Facebook group your full name, appropriate pictures, what college, trade school or post graduation plans you have. What will your major be? What career are you going to pursue? Your achievements, extracurricular activities and your personal story,” Leeper described. They join the Facebook Group, and write what they’ve accomplished, how they are feeling, outline their goals for the future.
“Hello my name is Abigail Casillas. I go by Abby. I have participated in some extracurriculars including: SWAT/SADD, CROP/SCHOLARS, and STEM Scholars. Along with managing my high school classes, I have been taking dual-enrollment classes. With my hard work and dedication, I will be graduating LHS and Florida SouthWestern State College with my AA. I have also participated in clubs at FSW while managing my high school experiences. I have a 4.7 weighted GPA, this shows my drive to succeed. I will be continuing my education at FSW seeking a Bachelors in Elementary Education. I want to be a helping hand to children and be someone they can count on. In my free time I also like to play the keyboard and flute. I can also crochet and embroider. All crocheted item shown below I made myself! I LOVE to read. Many people call me an old soul! I’d like to thank everyone who is doing this. This means a great deal to me.” wrote one senior who quickly received a sponsor.
Another senior posted, “Hello, My name is Alyssa Pringle. I am a graduating senior at Labelle High School. My favorite class has been watering and planting in horticulture. I am in the AKtion club, enjoy bowling, love to swim. After graduation, I plan to stay in the community working and living independently as possible. Thank you, Labelle, for making my graduation special, class of 2020 rocks.”
Her mother added, “Thank you all so much, I am reading these to Alyssa because she has had some dark moments with not understanding why she can’t go to school. I have caught her crying in a corner a couple of times. THANK YOU. This gives her something to look forward to each day reading the comments.”
Seniors may have, and are encouraged to have more than one sponsor, as there is no limit to the amount of support these seniors need. How do you become a senior adopter? Leeper explained, “It’s simple once you have found a Senior just send us a message and we will get you in contact with that seniors parents.” There is no requirement for a certain amount to sponsor a senior, the group encourages each person to do whatever they’d like. Seniors do complete a quick questionnaire, for their sponsors, so they can learn about their interests, wishes, and needs.
“It can be something as simple as a card or as complex as you would like. The entire point of this is to uplift our seniors and show them, we see them and all of their hard work!” she added, “There is no timeline, you may send items whenever you like. But some seniors will be leaving for college or boot camp before long. Ideally you will coordinate with your senior & parent.”
The Facebook Group for Sponsoring-a-Senior can be found at here.
There is also a project for printing senior photos on yard signs, another awesome way of honoring these local 2020 graduates. That group can be found on Facebook at LaBelle High School Class of 2020 Senior Signs.