North Iredell High graduate launched effort to get all 222 seniors ‘adopted’
BY KARISSA MILLER
Stephanie Faw understands how important proms, senior nights and graduation ceremonies are to students as they finish up their high school careers.
A member of the Class of 2000 at North Iredell High School who now teaches in McDowell County, Faw feels for the students throughout the country who are missing out on these traditions and other rites of passage because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With normal school activities put on hold as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Faw saw an opportunity to help. She set up and launched an “Adopt-a-Senior” page on Facebook for North Iredell High School last week.
“With my 20th year reunion approaching, I wanted to find a way to give back to the community that gave so much to me,” Faw explained. “In doing so, I decided to pay it forward to my former hometown graduating seniors.”
How Adopt-a-Senior Works
Adults, businesses, churches and other groups in the community “adopt” a senior and provide the student with a gift, advice and words of encouragement. The goal is to adopt every senior in the school so no one is left out.
The gift does not have to be expensive, Faw said. It should be something you can afford and find it on your heart to give.
“It’s a way to really love on these kids and let them know that we care,” she said.
Faw wanted to make sure every single student at North Iredell was accounted for, but she also knew that not every student is on Facebook and some have limited internet access.
Schools with Adopt-a-Senior pages might want to enlist the help of a student or two who can reach out to their classmates so that no one gets left out.
North students Christyna Ho and Abigail Caldwell were a huge help at North Iredell. They reached out to those seniors who didn’t have internet and advocated for them to get adopted.
As a result, all 222 Raiders in the Class of 2020 were adopted.
“I’m amazed at the community involvement — that everybody grabbed a hold of this. … I’m blessed. I’m praying that it’s blessed these kids’ hearts to see this,” Faw said.
“The Adopt-a-Senior page really made a difference to several seniors. I got a lot of positive messages from seniors in my class. It really means a lot to me in general that Stephanie Faw created it and I was really happy to help,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell said it gave her a chance to connect with people in her class that she doesn’t always see or talk to. Getting “adopted” by someone in the community feels amazing, she said.
“I felt overwhelmed with so much joy because it made my day so much brighter since I am missing out on all the fun activities in school,” Caldwell said.
A high school soccer player, Caldwell said it was disappointing to miss out on Senior Night after spring sports were cancelled due to the coronavirus. However, she’s trying to make the best of things and look at it from a positive perspective.
Following North Iredell’s lead, other schools in Iredell County have created their own Adopt-a-Senior pages. The early college programs have also launched their own pages.
“I truly feel that Stephanie was instrumental in getting it started for our district. She has a heart of gold and has made seniors feel loved and not forgotten,” said Tennille Sherrill, the guidance counselor at the Agriculture and Science Early College.
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
You can help all 2020 seniors get adopted. To see some of the Adopt-a-Senior pages, visit Facebook,
♦ North Iredell High: https://www.facebook.com/groups/327027321594618/
♦ South Iredell High: https://www.facebook.com/groups/556522488331093/
♦ West Iredell High: https://www.facebook.com/groups/669856713800914/
♦ Statesville High and Crossroads Early College: https://www.facebook.com/groups/846962755714679/
♦ Agriculture and Science Early College: https://www.facebook.com/groups/159517322146516/
♦ Mooresville High: https://www.facebook.com/groups/277639333400232/