JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – High school seniors across the country are still coming to terms with their long-awaited traditions being cancelled because of the pandemic. But alumni are stepping up in multiple ways to help their successors celebrate their next steps in life.
In what has become the pandemic norm, I spoke with a group of Murrah High School seniors about the changes, and the outpouring of support they’ve gotten since, over Zoom.
“We’ve grown up seeing our friends that are older posting those class day pictures. So it’s like we don’t get that,” Mackenize, a Murrah senior said.
Many alumni are empathizing with the Class of 2020. “Adopt-A-Senior” groups have popped up across Facebook. The groups connect a senior with an alumnus.
Murrah’s group was created by Dominique McInnis. In just three days, over 800 people joined, adopting over 130 of the 325 seniors. “When I first organized the page, I had no idea it would actually grow as fast as it’s growing,” said McInnis.
The students were taken aback by the number of people wanting to make them feel special despite the pandemic. “I didn’t know that many people would like care,” Jailyn said.
“It does show that like a lot of people still care for us. Because they’ve been through the process of graduation. They know how much it meant for us being in schools for 13 years,” Desmon said.
The alumni sign up to give a gift to a senior. But the relationship won’t stop there. It’s opening doors for future mentorship. “So many of the alum, they’re going to a lot of our schools, so we can come to them for tips or any advice,” said Keith.
Many of the alumni request to help a student following similar paths as them, whether it be choice of college, major, or extracurricular activities. “That is the overall goal. This is not a one-time connection. This is a not a let me support you in this moment. This is let me keep up with you,” McInnis said.
“Adopt-A-Senior” groups are providing connections that may not have happened without the pandemic changes. McInnis hopes the idea will become a tradition for the later classes.