Local moms create ‘adopt a high school senior’ Facebook groups

CHARLOTTE — We may be socially distant, but that doesn’t mean we have to be disconnected. Families in the Charlotte area are taking to social media to make sure their high school seniors aren’t forgotten.

“They may not have their unique prom story or their unique graduation story and things like that, but they will still have their own unique story,” said Syreeta Reaves.

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Inspired by their own children and a national trend, Reaves and Stephanie Hargus both started an adopt-a-senior group on Facebook -- Reaves for Mecklenburg County and Hargus for Union County.

In just four days, Hargus has nearly 3,000 members.

“It happened so quickly, and everyone started joining and I thought, ‘I can’t keep up,’” Hargus said.

Although the women don’t know each other, their message is the same. With North Carolina school buildings closed for the rest of the year, graduation ceremonies won’t look the same.

But the people who adopt these seniors want them to know there’s more life to live after high school.

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Parents are encouraged to post photos of their soon-to-be grad, complete with a bio about their hobbies and interests. The students fill out surveys highlighting their favorite colors, snacks and other items. They are then matched with an adopter, and that’s where the surprise really gets good.

“They were crying, I was crying, we were all crying. It was just so happy,” said Emma Nash, a senior at Parkwood High School in Monroe.

For her, that surprise came over the weekend in the form of a gift from an old friend. A video posted online shows Nash’s emotional response after her mom, Alycia Nash, posted a variety of photos, highlighting her daughter’s high school career in just one snapshot.

“That’s one of the biggest things you could ever look forward to as a parent, to see your child walk across the stage to get their diploma,” said Alycia Nash.

But this lesson isn’t one that comes from a textbook. We have to live it, to learn it.

“If anything comes out of our circumstance right now, it’s that we have an opportunity to be better,” said Hargus.

Once the seniors are matched, the families and adopters arrange gift drop-offs.

You must request to join each of the Facebook groups and parent/guardian participation is heavily encouraged.