High School seniors forgo graduation day, still find reasons to celebrate

Digital Now

COLORADO SPRINGS — Students set to finish school in 2020 are treading unchartered territory as graduation day approaches. And so, some savvy social media users, have joined forces to make sure this years’ seniors have a memorable send-off.

Kayla Arellano runs the Southeast Colorado Adopt-A-Senior Facebook page. She said it was a simple concept she noticed online, and she thought it would be a great movement for Southern Colorado.

“I did not expect it to go as far as it did,” Arellano said, “It makes me so emotional.”

The “Adopt-A-Senior” movement provides a way for parents and community members to select a specific graduating senior and, simply, make sure that student knows their accomplishment is meaningful. It’s a way to make sure these students, who are preparing for the next phase of their lives, do so with support.

Dr. Wendy Birhanzel is a Dual Superintendent for Harrison School District 2.

“This is an end of year like none other and not one we would plan,” Birhanzel said. “It’s really a hardship for our seniors.”

These students will miss their proms and their senior trips. They’ll miss out on walking across a stage on graduation day, reveling in cheers and applause from their family and friends in the stands.

Most of those students didn’t realize the last time they’d see their teachers and peers, was, in fact, the last time.

Governor Jared Polis announced schools would not reopen this year after they’d already been dismissed for several weeks, in line with other safety measures put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It just brings a united front across our nations to support our seniors,” Birhanzel said of the movement, which has spread throughout Colorado and beyond.

Right now, Colorado seniors are still “up for adoption.” You simply join one of the adoption pages and pick a senior. From there, you just do what you can.

“I just bought two of these tee shirts to give to two girls that I have adopted,” said Amanda Dowling of Prowers County.

“I wish I was rich,” Bernadette Pacheco, a Colorado Springs mom told FOX21 Digital NOW. “Because I would adopt a lot more.”

But you don’t have to spend a lot to make a difference for one of these seniors.

“The card he just got… they hand made the card you know,” said Jennifer Owens of her son Jager, “and I’m like, I don’t know the last time he’s probablyl ever gotten a handmade card.”

These students may not have the opportunity to move their tassels together this year, but they have every reason to hold their heads high.

“Be proud!” Said Pacheco. “Because you did it. Whether you walked or not – you did it.”


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