It took less than a week for a group of teachers to find sponsors to “adopt” a quarter of the Class of 2020. The volunteers agreed to purchase gifts, write notes of encouragement or reach out to the graduating seniors to celebrate their accomplishments during this global pandemic.
Duncanville High School teachers Shaunna Kile, Dedric Williams and Mark Teal launched the Adopt-a-Senior effort on Facebook to do something special for this class that is missing prom and other traditional end-of-high school events.
“Our seniors are hurting during this time, and we have the opportunity to bless them,” said English teacher Shaunna Kile. “I claim most of the kids as my own by default, and just so happen to have two senior nieces who I know are sad about the lost experiences they've looked forward to for a long time.”
By the end of the second week, the Facebook group grew to more than 2,000 members and 385 seniors had been adopted by members of the community and Duncanville High School alumni.
Ashlee Adams, who graduated from Duncanville High School and then attended Harvard University, stepped up to adopt Class of 2020 salutatorian Julia Bowers.
“I'm an administrator for our Duncanville Class of 2008 Facebook group, and one of my classmates shared the Adopt-a-Senior link there,” Ashlee said. “I saw that I had several things in common with Julia and wanted to shower her with some gifts!”
Retired Duncanville High School chemistry teacher David Womack adopted Class of 2020 valedictorian Daniela Padron Castillo. She said she was overwhelmed by the gift.
“Mr. Womack just blessed my whole life in the same way that he has every day that I’ve known him,” Daniela said. “I had intended to give an elaborate and heartfelt speech when he gave me the gift, but he left me speechless. I thank God for him.”
The group’s goal is to pair every senior with a sponsor. That’s a huge undertaking, considering there are more than 900 members of the Class of 2020.