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OHS Alum Launches Adoption Effort For 2020 Graduates
Oakdale senior Rayleigh Bellington was one of the many Oakdale students to benefit from the recently launched “Adopt A Senior” program for Oakdale’s class of 2020. Photo Contributed

It may have been seven years since Jordyn Simons last graced the stage as an Oakdale High graduate, but that doesn’t mean memories aren’t still there.

The 2013 OHS alum is the administrator/brain child behind the recently launched Facebook page, Adopt An Oakdale Senior. The social media page targeting Oakdale High School’s Class of 2020 was inspired by another district where Simons has family ties.

“I just started thinking about what it would be like to miss out on so many things,” the alum said.

Simons shared she recalled much from her senior, as well as the endless end of year activities and thought perhaps it would be nice to let the community spoil the class of 2020.

Just seven years post-graduation, Simons herself is not the mother of a graduate. The mother of two, ages three years and two months, shared her cousin is a member of the Class of 2020 and she felt all seniors should feel celebrated and special.

“The community definitely is something that made my high school years what they were and great years at that,” she said.

While the page has been up just a little over a week, Simons said she’s encouraged by the participation by the community thus far. Admitting that there was a bit of hesitancy with “adoption” once the page was first launched, she said as the community caught on, “adoption” began going quickly.

“I was surprised and wasn’t,” she said of the community’s willingness to support the students.

The idea behind the “adopt a senior” program is straightforward. A parent, family member or family friend posts a photo of the student with a description or information about the graduate. Once the student is “adopted” by a community member, information regarding their favorite things is then shared with the adoptee and arrangements are made for the exchange/delivery of the gifts.

Gifts can be as varied as the givers, everything from favorite snack foods to gift cards, homemade gifts, candy, books and more.

“You can adopt multiple seniors,” Simons explained. “I would like to make sure that all of the seniors are getting adopted. It’s not just Oakdale High School; it’s also East Stan and the Charter school.”

The organizer said she estimates the current number of adopted seniors is around the 150 mark and plans to work with the district in some way to secure the total number to ensure all are adopted at some point.

“Seeing the appreciation from the parent,” she said of what’s most gratifying. “I know not only is it a hard time for the seniors to have to go through, the parents don’t get to do what they would do for their graduating seniors also.”

Simons also recognized her own mother, acknowledging that while she may not be a parent of a senior, she enjoys the act of giving over receiving. A trait she learned from her mother.

“I just hope that the adopters have been able to show some celebration towards them and let them know that we do wish them the best in their future endeavors,” Simons said, “and we know they’re the future of Oakdale.”

A member of the Class of 2020, Haleigh Flores, stopped by The Oakdale Leader office on Monday, where staff members Marissa Cabral, left, and Michelle Kendig greeted her with a smile and a gift bag. Photo Contributed