Walking at high school graduation, throwing your cap in the air and beginning an independent life is a huge milestone in any teenager’s life, but Covid-19 has changed that moment for this year’s graduating seniors. After the social distancing mandate was created for public safety and June 5th, Amador County’s last day of school, drew closer, students and guardians realized that the Class of 2020 would have an alternative graduation experience; graduating seniors no longer able to walk for graduation in accordance with public health guidelines. 

Thinking of her son, a current senior at Amador High School, one local mom took action with a creative Facebook group, where you can “Adopt” an Amador County High School Senior. The public group, aptly called Amador County “Adopt” a high school senior, gives a platform for the community to show their love and recognition to Amador County’s graduating seniors - from Amador and Argonaut, Independence High School and more…so their achievements can be celebrated and have the opportunity to be “adopted” by a fellow community member.

Sarah Kern made the connection between Amador County and its seniors - on the page, current high school seniors are introduced, along with their hobbies, community involvement, achievements and activities. Fellow locals can scroll through the dozens of students to one they know, or would like to support, sending a couple of the students’ favorite items in a care package to share the love. “I’m the mother of a senior at Amador, Grayson Kern, and a friend in Colorado who is also doing the “adopt a senior” program in their community reached out to me,” Sarah Kern, group founder, commented. “I initially thought it was for senior citizens! Then I found out that it was for high school seniors, read it was becoming popular, so I researched and reached out - I sent my feelers out. People heard and it gained traction, now it’s taking off. I started with my son, who was actually “adopted” by one of his teachers, then his friends joined, and their friends, now it’s rapidly progressing. I’m very excited to see the community is supporting the kids like this…the community has always stepped up, especially with the kids.”

The group, which has over 700 members and counting, grows every day — and Sarah hopes many more high school seniors will be shouted out on the group to be adopted and recognized. “There are probably 25-30 seniors who are adoptable/have been adopted on the page so far, but there have to be at least 150 to 200 graduating seniors in Amador County, between all of the schools. The goal is to get all of the seniors matched up with an adopter, who can learn a little bit about their senior and send the student a card or a gift, to recognize their accomplishments and remind them that they are being thought about. Some people are making signs or lawn stakes so the neighborhood can see, are making shirts or other accessories in their school’s colors, or are even just sending the student a gift card to their favorite restaurant or are sending them a few of their favorite snacks and foods.”

“To adopt, look at the page as seniors are available and comment on the post of the person who is in the ad that you would like to adopt,” Kern explains, “and whoever posted the ad should contact you, and figure out the students’ favorites and coordinate the drop-off, etc. There is a post on the group’s page which includes a form which the kids can fill out with some of their favorite things, tell a little bit about themselves, what high school they are graduating from and their contact info. From there, send them a package, a card or make plans to contact (using social distancing, of course) to drop off some swag and congrats!”

“There’s uncertainty when it comes to money and things right now, people aren’t sure if they can afford $20 for a gift card…but I want to make sure that these kids all get adopted and get that time and recognition. Every senior will get adopted out, even if I have to send them all a $5 gift card myself… they all will be adopted. Adopt an Amador County High School Senior! Let’s celebrate their achievements and give them a chance to brag…they deserve it,” Sarah finished. “We are not trying to replace graduation, just lift spirits.”

 Join the public Facebook Group, Amador County “Adopt” a high school senior, and share the love by recognizing the kids’ hard work and accomplishments by “adopting” one of the many graduating Class of 2020 high school seniors in Amador County. To “adopt” a senior, visit the page, or email Sarah Kern at kern78@att.net if you don’t have a Facebook. The group will remain open post-graduation (June 5th, 2020) to keep up with the Class of 2020’s progress.