Vancouver mom creates Facebook group to ‘adopt’ out Clark County high school seniors

More than 200 seniors have been “adopted” by others in the group, receiving gifts and other items as a way to help brighten their senior year.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — This year’s senior class is starting the same way last year’s senior class ended: online and anything but normal. Ask any senior how it’s going and you’ll most likely get a similar response.

“My senior year, honestly, has been just a little dull because I have spending all of my time at home,” said Evergreen High School senior Nola Nicholson.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s been pretty rough adjusting to the whole at home learning because it’s been the first year it’s been official,” said Hockinson High School senior Lillie Mueller.

“It’s been a struggle because you can’t really ask for much help if you have questions on stuff,” said Skyview High School senior Maddox Schaefer. “It’s been really hard but I’m working through it.”

With the pandemic still in full swing, high schools across the region have kept students home and learning online, depriving them of that authentic senior year experience.

“I miss a lot of socializing and a lot of people and I miss having a reason to leave the house every day, which I don’t anymore,” Nicholson said.

Schaefer said his junior prom last year was canceled.

“This year, I won’t have a prom because last year I didn’t get a prom either,” Schaefer said. “I haven’t really experienced any school dances like prom and winter formal.”

To help make their senior years feel more special Schaefer’s mom, Dionna Hickox, created a Facebook group called “Adopt a 2021 Senior — Clark County” as a way to “adopt” out seniors to others in the community. A parent or student posts in the group about them or their senior, their likes, their goals and anything about them they feel comfortable sharing. Those in the group can comment that they would like to “adopt” them, which can mean just sending a positive note, a gift or any number of things to help brighten their day.

“I really think that when we’re going through hard times, it’s also the time that we all rally around each other and recognizing that our seniors are missing out on so many things.” Hickox said. “It really kind of connects the community to want to do more.”

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Since starting the group in early to mid-December, Hickox said over 200 seniors have been adopted. Marissa Heeter, who lives in the Evergreen School District adopted three students.

“Honestly, it’s hard to not pick more,” Heeter said laughing, “It’s been fun.” 

Among the gifts she sent to Lillie Mueller was a personalized adoption certificate.

“She put my name and her name and pictures of me and personalized details of my life, so there’s like basketball, tennis, coffee and a stethoscope because I want to be a nurse.” Mueller said.

Students don’t know when they’ll receive something, Schaefer said he was surprised one day when he walked to get the mail.

“One day I was checking the mail and I had two cards that were for me,” he said.

One card held a Subway gift card, another a gift card for gas.

“This is a great program,” Nicholson said. “Such a good way to spread more kindness and more happiness around right now. Especially with how isolated and lonely a lot of us feel right now and frustrated.”

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