Adopt a Sequim High Senior project continues in wake of COVID-19

Graduates-to-be hopeful for celebration

Ashleigh Cate decorates a bucket for goodies she plans to give to graduate-to-be Connor Forderer. She and her family adopted Connor as part of the Sequim High School Adopt a Senior 2020 Facebook program because she plans to enlist in the US Army as as a medic, and Connor plans to enlist in the US Marines. Photo courtesy of Chad Cate

Ashleigh Cate decorates a bucket for goodies she plans to give to graduate-to-be Connor Forderer. She and her family adopted Connor as part of the Sequim High School Adopt a Senior 2020 Facebook program because she plans to enlist in the US Army as as a medic, and Connor plans to enlist in the US Marines. Photo courtesy of Chad Cate

An online effort to “adopt” all 201 graduates-to-be for Sequim High’s Class of 2020 remains ongoing, with more than 80 students and/or their families signed up for the Facebook group so far.

Started on April 20, organizers with Sequim High School Adopt a Senior 2020 look to honor graduating students after many of their milestones were cancelled or postponed because of restrictions forced by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Families or 12th graders post about the graduate-to-be with basic information and a photo(s) and community members sign up to “adopt” the senior to send them letters, cards, snacks, gift cards, etc. to celebrate their academic achievements. People are encouraged to adopt more than one senior.

Chad Cate said he and his daughter Ashleigh, SHS class of 2019, adopted Connor Forderer, the son of a fellow firefighter.

Payton Sturm sits by her family’s fence after it was decorated by family-friend Shenna Younger as part of the Adopt a Senior project. Payton and seniors across the country have lost out on many milestones in the final months of high school, so multiple groups including one in Sequim look to encourage local seniors in different ways. Photo courtesy of Payton Sturm

Payton Sturm sits by her family’s fence after it was decorated by family-friend Shenna Younger as part of the Adopt a Senior project. Payton and seniors across the country have lost out on many milestones in the final months of high school, so multiple groups including one in Sequim look to encourage local seniors in different ways. Photo courtesy of Payton Sturm

“(Ashleigh) spent all day decorating the bucket that Connor’s gifts will go in,” Chad said. “Ashleigh is going to enlist in the Army as a medic and she is excited to assist with Connor’s gifts because he is set to enlist in the Marines.”

Abbee Jagger, a graduate-to-be and future criminal justice student at Eastern Washington University, was signed up for the “National Adopt a 2020 Senior Project” that Sequim follows and said she was adopted by a Washington family because she wants to become a police officer too. She said she was touched to receive a handmade pen from a police officer.

Jagger and her friend and fellow 12th-grader Gabby Happe, who plans to attend Edmonds College, hope for an in-person graduation this summer.

With word on that in limbo, seniors participated in a cap and gown parade pickup on May 4, and a virtual Decision Day where seniors shared their plans for after graduation via YouTube.

“Watching it was emotional,” Jagger said. “It’s sad not to have an assembly to celebrate.”

For more information about the adoption project, search for the group on Facebook.

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