‘Memories were stolen’: Local mom creates 'Adopt-a-Senior' program for Class of 2020

A local mom is using the power of social media to help rally around the Class of 2020 as COVID-19 shatters traditional graduation plans.

Staci Tramont said watching her daughter graduate last year was a moment she’ll cherish forever.

It’s why she felt compelled to start a group on Facebook called Adopt-a-Senior.

Parents post pictures of their graduating seniors who are then adopted by family, friends -- sometimes complete strangers. The adoptees pledge to send them gifts and messages of support. 

New Smyrna Beach High School grad Laike Jowers was overwhelmed by the gifts, which included gift cards, blankets and more.

“Everything, everything I would need for college I pretty much got,” he said.

His mom, Sally Jowers, said missing the major milestone is sad for him and the entire family.

“The grand thing is to walk on stage. That’s the last thing to do and miss out on that, and their sports, and their senior night, and awards nights, and all that... it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

Laike’s dad, Rocky, said receiving the gifts has become a joy in their home.

“We’re all getting a little stale, getting on each other's nerves, so when Amazon comes we kind of exaggerate and go, ‘Hey, they’re here. Let’s see what it is,’” he said. “So, it’s been a lot of fun for us.”

Tramont said, so far, 1,000 seniors have been "adopted".

She said the program has brought smiles to seniors and a purpose to those giving back.

“It makes them want to love more as well and give more cause they see what type of impact they’re having on these kids,” she said.