CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – For most high school seniors, spring is a time of excitement and joy. But for the class of 2020 in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, things look a little different. Now, many parents are getting creative and turning to Facebook, to celebrate their seniors.
“These kids are missing out on the rights of passage,” explained Katherine Robillard. “This is just a way to lift them up.”
Robillard created the “Adopt a Senior West Virginia Edition” Facebook page less than a month ago. Since then, it’s grown immensely boasting more than 3,000 members.
“Kindness is everything right now,” Katherine Robillard said in an interview with 13 News Reporter Lily Bradley via Facetime. “I really believe that the kindness we are putting towards these seniors will translate into kindness throughout the world through them in the future.”
She currently lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and has actually never been to the Mountain State. Her boyfriend’s brother, however, is a senior here. Ty Atkinson is a part of South Charleston High School’s class of 2020. He’s bummed that he’s missing out on the “normal senior things” like prom and his senior season of baseball.
“It just happened so fast. Like our last day, the day before spring break was supposed to start, we didn’t know it would be our last day. All of the relationships you build, they are just gone,” Atkinson says.
But the senior says the Facebook page has been a bright spot. He was one of the literally thousands of seniors posted on the Facebook group by his mom, Penny. He’s been “adopted” by more than five people.
“My buddies said, ‘Hey, I saw your mom put you up for adoption’ and I was like ‘But I didn’t do anything,'” he said. “And then they told me about the group and I was like, oh that’s pretty cool.”
Ty’s mother, Penny, is now a moderator of the page. She says its grown so quickly it’s almost like a second job, she checks the notifications and requests on her breaks and when she gets home from work each night.
“This just proves that everybody is behind these guys,” said . “They have come to realize that West Virginians take care of their kids.”
Parents can submit their seniors or seniors can submit themselves. Those who “adopt” the senior are encouraged to send cards with words of encouragement, a small gift, or just well wishes.
“With everything going on, just something little,” Atkinson says. “Something little means a lot.”
Penny Atkinson says there is also a way to honor those seniors in the foster care system. Those interested can message a moderator on the page to ensure that things are done following mandated privacy guidelines.