The coronavirus pandemic makes it impossible for people to safely gather in groups, which meant closure of schools back on March 13, the day before spring break started.

That was the last day of public school for the Senior Class of 2020. And the last day of most anything — they didn’t have a prom, or Grad Bash, but because we are Positively Osceola, we are believing that conditions will continue to improve and in July, the kids WILL have an in-person graduation ceremony.

To keep that special feel of accomplishment, a group of parents created a local Facebook group called Adopt a 2020 Senior — Florida Edition.

A senior or parent joins the group by posting a picture and provide a short bio of their accomplishments, plans after high school or a struggle they’ve experienced during school. Anyone else in the community who joins the page can then “adopt” the student — support them if they have any kind of need by corresponding through direct message. That support can be anything from a motivational card to supplies needed for college.

Parents of graduating seniors got then idea to encourage and inspire seniors who may need uplifting, assurance and well wishes for the next stage of their lives. Akita Emanuel has two seniors, Trey and Tiyya Varnado, graduating from Osceola High School and taking that next step. Tiyya’s headed to Valencia College and Trey’s going north to Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire on a football scholarship.

“They feel discouraged and devastated, especially losing their end-of-the-year traditions,” Emanuel said. “And to make it worse, some of them have single parents who have lost work, and are having a hard time providing things they need for college. But the main thing is to restore that feeling of accomplishment they’ve been working for for 12 years.”

The local Facebook Group has nearly 1,000 members and 130 adopted seniors as of Wednesday morning.