ROXBURY, NJ – The organizers of the “Adopt a Senior 2020” Facebook group hope the effort will “bring a smile” to the faces of Roxbury High School seniors whose graduation ceremonies have been waylaid by the coronavirus.

The Facebook group, administered by Elaine Weinacker and Dana Guberman Taggart, provides a way for people to “adopt” a senior and then “do whatever they think is appropriate to put a smile on their face,” Taggart said. “It could be a small card, a gift card, a gift basket or whatever the adoptee likes.”

There are about 300 graduating seniors and about a third have been “adopted,” Taggart said. “The community has been great,” she said. “Seniors who have been posted are being picked-up quickly. We are so grateful to the tremendous response to this opportunity to put a smile on a senior’s face.”

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She noted that the effort is not sponsored by the school district.

A Structured Approach

She also stressed that there are some strict rules. For example, only the parents of seniors are allowed to put their children up for “adoption” and only one post per graduate is permitted.

Parents wishing to participate are told to begin their posts with the words “NOT ADOPTED” and then write something about the student, post some photos and list some accomplishments. Once a senior is “adopted,” the parent is required to edit the post to reflect that new status, Taggart said.

The parents of “adopted” students are then asked to send a message to the person who signed-up to do so. Parents are advised to be sure they “are comfortable with the person … “before giving out any personal information,” Taggart said. 

There are also some guidelines for those who decide to “adopt” a senior. “By adopting a senior you are pledging to brighten a senior's day during this difficult time,” says the page. “Put together a ‘basket’ of a few of their favorite things. Feel free to include a letter or card of congratulations. Once you decide on a senior to adopt, please comment on the post.”

The adoptive parents are also told to communicate directly with the real parents and to deliver their gifts by June 15.

Virtual and In-Person Graduation Ceremonies Being Planned

Roxbury High School “will be hosting a virtual graduation ceremony as well as an in-person ceremony” said Roxbury High School Principal Dominick Miller in a May 19 letter to parents.

The virtual ceremony is scheduled to take place June 19. Miller said details will be released by June 1.

As for the in-person ceremony, the principal said administrators are “exploring three viable options” and asked seniors and parents to complete a survey to choose an option, offer ideas and share concerns.

“Logistically our in-person ceremony will most likely take place over two or three days to address congregation restrictions and to maintain the health and safety of all, per state guidelines,” Miller wrote. “When we confirm our in-person ceremony process and provide our seniors and senior families with all pertinent information also on June 1.”

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