Recognizing high school graduating seniors by sending gifts or cards is a way for community members to applaud the seniors for their accomplishments.

When learning about the changes to the Class of 2020’s end-of-year milestones that have many seniors feeling down, Melodye Lewis jumped at the chance to take part in the Adopt-a-Senior project that is sweeping across Florida.


Launching the Adopt a Flagler County 2020 Senior Facebook page with the help of her daughter, Abigail Lewis, and Abigail’s best friend, Eliana Escalante, both juniors at Flagler Palm Coast High School, Lewis says the trio came up with idea after seeing a social media group that started in Volusia County.


Reaching out, she modeled the Flagler County group after the Volusia page, and the response has been tremendous, with community members signing up to “adopt” students from Flagler’s senior class.


On the Facebook page, interested families post a photo of a graduating senior, along with their high school, photos and some information about the student. People can then “adopt” the senior by pledging to send a letter, card, gift card or gift to let them know that they’re not forgotten.


As the basketball cheer coach for FPC, Lewis says she’s heard firsthand from the seniors on the squad and noticed the impact the project has had on their morale.


“For many of the seniors this has been the only thing that has made them smile in quite a while,” Lewis said. “From a parent’s perspective, I know that the parents are so grateful to be able to brag about their awesome grads and to see the joy this is bringing to them. It’s heartwarming to see the outpouring of love and generosity from our community. We are proud to be Bulldogs and we are proud of these seniors and this community.”


Lewis’s daughter says the project has helped to cheer up her friends and allows them an opportunity to show the personalized gifts they are receiving during this special time in their lives.


“The senior class has been very thankful and positive about the local movement we created,” said Abbie Lewis. “You can see how happy they are when they post pictures with the gifts they received.”


Hearing from seniors about how the project is boosting their spirits, Escalante says she is proud of the community for stepping up for others.


“Even though not everyone that is sending and receiving gifts knows each other, it shows that the community is thinking about the seniors,” she said.


Among those stepping up to adopt students is Pam Miller, whose own son, Steven Miller, is a senior at Matanzas High School.


“I didn’t even have it on there for two minutes and there were four people who adopted him. It was so wonderful,” said Miller, who was inspired to adopt four seniors after seeing how it affected her son.


Adopted by several members of the community, Matanzas High School senior Madison Asbill said her first package arrived at the perfect time.


“I actually did get a package in the mail yesterday (Friday) with a little sign that says ‘You Are My Sunshine’, which is one of my favorite sayings. It really helped a lot because yesterday was supposed to be prom. It is devastating, but I think that we just try to focus on the beginning of senior year,” she said.


Knowing how hard the students have worked to reach graduation, Belle Terre Elementary School teacher Abbey Cooke says she taught 12 of the 15 seniors she has adopted.


“It was important for me to take part in this because these seniors have missed out on the events and activities that they have worked over a decade towards. This is a way for our community to show them how special they are and how proud we are of all of their hard work,” she said.


“For the seniors that I had in class six years ago, it has been awe-inspiring to see them grow from the 11-year-old children that I had in class to the young adults that now have their entire futures ahead of them,” she added. “They are the first sixth grade class that I kept for all subjects, so I will always have a special bond with them. They are now and forever my kids.”