A big thank you

Chantel Kelly Anderson posted, “Nathan would like to say thank you for thinking of him and making him feel special. He was smiles from ear to ear! ...Warms my heart! Thank you all again.”

KANKAKEE VALLEY — Two parents of KV High School seniors decided to start an “Adopt-A-Senior” program on Facebook by inviting a few friends to join.

Started on April 28, the group quickly grew to over 1,000 members with family, friends and total strangers choosing to send goody packages to the teens who have missed out on so many “lasts” this final semester of their high school careers.

Parents were asked to post a picture of their senior student and tell about their activities, hobbies, sports and post a wishlist to Amazon. People who want to adopt a senior can then look at the wishlist and order from it for the soon-to-be graduate.

Hannah Celorio and Brandy Murray were surprised at how quickly their idea spread across the Kougar community.

“We had 50 members within 30 minutes,” Celorio said. “It just blew up.”

Celorio’s son will be heading off to the Marine Corp shortly after graduation on June 6. She is pleased with the way her son has been honored by gifts through the program and the encouragement he’s received.

“You feel helpless as a parent. They’re missing out on all that stuff. I’m loving all the pictures the kids are posting.”

The seniors are posting pictures of themselves with their gifts and their gratitude to the people who have sent them, often anonymously.

“I think they’re enjoying it,” she said. “I love how quickly the community jumped on this.”

She said the entire Remax team joined the group to adopt seniors and bringing some joy to them as they continue to be quarantined and to finish their school work online.

Murray, whose daughter is Karissa Murray, wrote on Facebook, “You guys are doing an amazing job making Karissa feel special and loved. Only 2 weeks of senior year left and her AP tests begin next week! She’s in the home stretch, but the stress is real! You are all making a huge difference for her right now, and we can’t thank you enough.”

On May 7, seniors headed to the high school to pick up their caps and gowns, and to receive the items they left in their lockers. The items were brought out to their cars and placed in their trunks so there was no contact.

The commencement ceremony will be held on June 6, at 4 p.m. in the parking lot with the seniors driving up to a stage, getting out, going up to the stage, receiving their diplomas, then getting back in their vehicles and going back to their designated parking spots for the rest of the ceremony.

The Facebook page is KV Adopt a Senior. To join, there are four questions to answer before being allowed into the group. The group had 132 of 262 seniors included on the page, and that number may have risen.