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Community Rallies Together to ‘Adopt’ High School Seniors

By Emily DeWitt
Hottytoddy.com intern

So many high school graduates feel their time of friendship, learning and togetherness was cut short as a result of COVID-19, but the Oxford and Lafayette County communities came together to ensure they get to make as many memories as possible.

A Facebook group called ‘Adopt A Senior’ was created to ensure the class of 2020 would know they haven’t been forgotten. It is a way for this graduating class to hold onto memories from their last year of high school even though school was moved online for the remainder of their year.

Ashley Hilton, a teacher at Oxford Intermediate School, borrowed the idea of Adopt A Senior from another school. Since this year’s graduating class was not going to get to make the memories they earned, Hilton felt a responsibility to give them a proper sendoff.

“I was “invited” to join the DeSoto County “Adopt a Senior” Facebook group, where I “adopted” the senior of a friend,” Hilton said. “After following the group for several days and seeing the happiness it brought those seniors, I knew that Oxford needed to start one of these groups, too.”

This group was created to let the Oxford graduating seniors know they hadn’t been forgotten and that their accomplishments should be celebrated, especially when so many have been looking forward to all the festivities that come with being a senior.

Brandi Carter, also a teacher at Oxford Intermediate School, felt a responsibility to these graduates, and she wanted to make their year memorable even though their year was cut short.

“High school memories are memories that last a lifetime,” Carter said. “We knew that we were not able to give them the memories that they missed out on during their senior year, but our hopes were to help them create new memories that will hopefully last a lifetime.”

Carter said this speaks to the sense of community that Oxford has for one another. 

“Ashley and I are both teachers, so, with that being said, once you are in our care, our school, or our hearts, you will always be “our” children. What would any other Mother do? So, you rally the community to help, you show love to your children that need it the most…2020 Seniors!” Carter said.

Both Hilton and Carter couldn’t be prouder to be residents of Oxford. In a time where the future seems uncertain, it is heartwarming to know that a community can band together to give hope where it is lacking.

“Community members aren’t seeing Oxford High School seniors and Lafayette High School seniors; rather, they are wanting to help any senior experience happiness. We are receiving so many messages from community members who are wanting to adopt a senior. Throughout this pandemic, Oxford has come together like never before. It warms my heart to see everyone working together for our community,” Hilton said.

Hilton wanted to thank everyone who helped make this group possible, and wanted readers to know it wasn’t all her doing. She expressed without the help of Brandi Carter, Jackie Mulkey, Jill Knox, Sarah Hamilton, Callie Trusty and Paul Garner, the group wouldn’t have been possible.

If you know of a senior who has not yet been ‘adopted’, please follow this link and follow these instructions: 

1. Post a picture of your senior. When someone comments on your post to “adopt” your senior, please edit your original post (use the three dots at the top right) to update that he or she has been adopted. Please put this information at the very top of your post. This helps others to quickly see who has and hasn’t been adopted.

2. Scroll through the newest photos to find a senior who is available for adoption. You can use the “search this group” (search bar on left) to look for a particular school or interest (ex: Lafayette band). You can also change the top of your feed to search “recent posts” instead of the default “new activity,” which also shows new comments.

3. Adopt a senior by commenting on the post that you want to “adopt” that senior. *One adult per senior.* In other words, one adult can choose two seniors, but two adults can’t choose one senior. I want ALL seniors to get adopted!

4. After you have chosen your senior, message him or her to ask about his or her favorites and to make arrangements for delivery. Some people have shopped locally (which will help Oxford’s locally owned businesses), and others have ordered online and shipped directly to their address. Suggested items can be notes, candy, food, gift cards, games, college gear, dorm items, etc. It’s up to you!

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