Schenectady mom’s “Adopt a Senior 2020” page spreads support for high schoolers missing out on memories

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Seniors all over America are bummed they’re missing out on their last chance for high school memories.

“We had our last day of school and none of us even knew that it was going to be our last day of school. It’s kind of sad that I think about all the things we won’t be able to do and how we won’t be able to see our friends for the last time, or get her yearbooks signed,” says senior Rakaiya Martin.

“I’m kind of sad that I’m going to miss out on prom, because I didn’t go last year, I’m going to miss out on graduation most likely,” says Schenectady High School senior Jaden Schulenburg explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

NEWS10 reached out to Capital Region school districts to see what’s on the horizon for senior milestones like prom and graduation. Those that answered, including City School District of Albany, North Colonie Central School District, and Schenectady City School District, all say they still can’t tell if or when students will get their diplomas while awaiting guidance from the governor.

So Schenectady mom Claire Morales started a Facebook page, Adopt a Senior 2020, for community members to cheer up her son Jaden and his friends. She says she and Jaden moved back to New York from Florida so he could graduate with his childhood friends. She’s now heartbroken they may miss out on the experience together.

“I wanted seniors to get noticed and anything to get their spirits lifted. They can get gifts, or gift cards, or even just letters of encouragement,” Morales says.

The group now has more than 7000 members and people in the community are adopting 2020 seniors from all over the world.

“It’s grown so quickly, there’s already a couple seniors on there that are from Canada and Mexico,” she says.

Rakaiya Martin is an aspiring doctor and senior all the way in Georgia. She says she never expected to be recognized by a bunch of strangers from New York.

“I want to say thank you for your time and your kindness and your heart and just recognizing us when we don’t feel like we’re even being paid attention to. We’re stuck in the house doing the same thing every day, it’s nice to know that somebody’s thinking about you,” Martin says.

Morales and her son Jaden say they’re still crossing their fingers praying the pandemic will be over in time for graduation. In the meantime, Jaden will enjoy the generous gifts he’s gotten to keep his head up.

“It’s so crazy, but I’m glad. There really are nice people out there in the world who want to help us out,” he says.


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