A growing trend is sweeping the nation. Family, friends and strangers are choosing to “adopt a senior” by surprising them with a care package at their front door.
It’s unclear where the trend started, but for the past few weeks, Facebook groups have been popping up all over the U.S. to support graduating high schoolers. High School senior Aimee Zirker was adopted by family friend and teacher Rose Martin.
“She is somebody who’s special, somebody who’s a hard worker, somebody who has always been a giving person, and so I wanted to give back to her,” Martin said.
It took some hard work keeping it a secret, but Aimee says she was completely surprised.
“I had no idea. I’ve heard of other things happening for other seniors, but I didn’t expect anything to happen to me, so it was just insane. It was such a good surprise,” Aimee said.
She says it hasn’t been easy knowing she won’t get to finish her senior year at school with her friends. Even though she was expecting the school to remain closed, she had been holding onto some hope.
“When the announcement came, I was pretty devastated about it because this is my senior year. I was supposed to have one of the best years of my life – 12 years of school, like the last three months I was so excited for them – but instead I’m stuck at home,” Aimee said.
Nonetheless, she’s found reasons to still enjoy this time of her life.
“I feel like I’ve always had a pretty positive outlook on life," Aimee said. "I tend to find the silver linings in things because I don’t like dwelling on the negative. But yeah this was definitely a hard thing and I’ve gone through the emotions of happy, sad, happy sad, but when something like this happens there’s no way I can’t be happy.”
In addition to her giant donut and bag of goodies, Aimee’s mother, Leslie Zirker, says they’re holding a family prom.
“Next week we’re going to do a family prom in the basement. She already has her decorations ordered, we’re looking at fun different little dresses and things like that everybody in the family can participate with,” Leslie said.
It may not have been the senior year she imagined, but Aimee says she still feels appreciated and accomplished. As a teacher, Martin says that feeling is important for high school seniors.
“This was something that they were so looking forward to, and it was taken away from them," Martin said. "So, we want to celebrate them, we want to let them know that they may not have gotten the things or events they were hoping for, but maybe they got something else that’s different. They’ve got time with their family, they got to be adopted and have a surprise and just be told how special they are.”
No matter the circumstances, graduating high school is a big milestone that needs to be celebrated. As more and more seniors get adopted, they know a coronavirus pandemic can’t keep them from ending their 12 years of education with a bang.
“People are latching on to this feel-good movement of doing something good for somebody else – and I think our world needs a little bit more of that,” Martin said.
While it may be for different reasons than intended, 2020 will still be a year to remember.