SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - While students across the Garden State have been impacted by coronavirus-related cancellations, high school seniors have been especially hard hit. Spring sports, plays, concerts, trips and even graduations ceremonies have been affected. The effect led two South Brunswick High School freshmen to do something special to celebrate the Viking's Class of 2020.
Adopt-a-SBHS Senior 2020 is the brainchild of twins Drew and Katelyn O'Rourke with some help from their mom Suzanne. The endeavor is not directly associated with South Brunswick High School or the South Brunswick School District. It is a private initiative by the O'Rourke's, spurred by the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, to recognize the achievements of South Brunswick High School's Class of 2020 as well as bring some graduation smiles.
So far 180 South Brunswick High School seniors have been adopted. The pair gets more each day.
"We are hoping more seniors will continue to join in," said Katelyn O'Rourke. "There is still time to participate."
The Adopt-a-SBHS Senior 2020 initiative concludes on Friday, June 19.
The way the program works is simple.
"Seniors and parents of seniors can participate by either posting on the Facebook page, SBHS Adopt Senior or they can DM us directly on our Instagram page, and we will post it for them," explained Drew O'Rourke. "We have over 1,000 members on our Facebook page and over 300 on Instagram."
"It's been exciting to read about where all of our seniors are going," Drew O'Rourke added.
Senior adoption posts include the graduate's list of accomplishments as well as his or her post graduation plans. Once the information and photograph is posted, it's up to others to adopt the Viking senior.
"When you adopt a senior, you click on their Amazon wish list on their bio on our Facebook page," explained Katelyn O'Rourke. "The adopter picks an item around $25 off of the senior's wish list and ships it directly to the senior. We helped the seniors with instructions on how to set up their Amazon wish list so their address is hidden. It only shows the adoptee their name."
Another option is for people to donate money to the Adopt-a-SBHS Senior 2020 initiative via Venmo using SBHS-Senior. Any leftover funds will be donated to South Brunswick's Project Graduation. Project Graduation helps SBHS graduates to celebrate their graduation safely with trips and other activities for seniors each June.
The O'Rourke twins have had donations from South Brunswick businesses and residents including Windsor Brunswick Driving School, Max Fitness of South Brunswick, Master Peter's Academy of Martial Arts-Dayton, The Olive and The Stone, Lynda Williams, Jaya Kuppuswamy, Felicia Lubrano Shuchman, Vandana Singh, Anastasia Marcella and SBFlag.
Thankful seniors have sent the twins photos of their graduation gifts and smiles. Drew and Katelyn O'Rourke are very excited about how the Adopt-a-Senior initiative has taken off, and they are extremely appreciative of the support they have received from the community.
To adopt a South Brunswick High School senior or to make a donation, visit the Adopt-a-SBHS Senior 2020 Facebook page.