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Pembroke community acts fast, blazes a trail to 'adopt' senior Dragons

By Jeanne Walton


Everyone has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. While we are all having different experiences, most of us can empathize with the heartache of high school seniors as their final academic year is cut short.

No prom, no traditional graduation, no final chance to take that SAT one more time, no chance for that banner season (or not) during Spring sports — the list goes on.  

Pembroke High School alumna, mom and community member Jessi Boardman found a way to shine a light on what has become a clouded senior year for the teens.  

The inspiration was triggered by the announcement on May 1 that there would not be a return to school this year in New York State. Boardman set about appealing to local residents to determine if anyone in addition to herself was interested in an "Adopt-A-Senior" program.

The response was overwhelming.

A Facebook page was started to promote the program and within 24 hours all 79 graduating PHS seniors had been adopted!

Those who adopt a senior can shower the student with anything special that comes to mind — gifts, letters, social media posts, recognition — whatever inspires them. All in an effort to do something special for each and every senior.

“It’s been a very cool thing,” Boardman said, as she has watched the community come together to support the effort and give the seniors a “joyful distraction from the current situation.”

The camaraderie on the page is great and the kids “feel the community love, even as they suffer the loss of having been cheated out of the full experience of senior year.”

Boardman hopes that other local schools will jump on board and develop a similar program for their seniors. This is an opportunity to make it special for them.

As she said, “everyone has a connection with senior year being one of the best parts of their life. These kids are missing out …it resonates with all of us and gives us a way to express the great pride we have in our community. It’s been a very cool thing!”

(Photo courtesy of Tammy Richley​.)

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