With her 20th high school reunion around the corner, Magnolia-resident Katie Silhan said she had recently been remembering her final semester of high school.
“I just remembered everything we got to do, [like] graduation and prom,” she said. “These are the last things [the class of 2020 is] missing out on and it really broke my heart.”
While Silhan does not have a graduating senior of her own, she said in speaking with her neighbors she found there was interest in starting an adopt-a-senior Facebook page for Magnolia High School.
Silhan said the response from the community has been overwhelming, as seniors have received everything from cards and gifts to yard signs to show support.
“There are about 500 seniors this year and we have about 200 adopted within the page,” she said. “I didn’t think it would be as big as it is and it is amazing how much it has grown."
Likewise, Silhan said the seniors have also been amazed by the community response.
“These kids just want somebody thinking about them and [to feel like] they are not just missing out on everything,” she said.
Silhan said the mother of Magnolia High School's senior class president brought over a bouquet of flowers as a gift from the class of 2020.
“A lot of [seniors] have reached out to say 'thank you,'” Silhan said. “They didn’t think that somebody who didn’t know them could [start something like this for] them.”
Jeff Springer, a former Magnolia High School principal and current minister of men at Wildwood United Methodist Church, said he too wanted to do something to encourage this year's senior class. Springer had previously hosted baccalaureate services in person since leaving Magnolia High School in 2016.
“I was feeling bad about the fact [that] our seniors aren’t experiencing prom, graduation and things like that,” he said. “And I thought 'What if we hosted the baccalaureate again, and we did it on Zoom?'”
Baccalaureate service invitations will be mailed out to all Magnolia High School students within the next week, including instructions on how to join the service, which will be held at 7 p.m. May 26, Springer said.
“We felt like we could contribute [by] adding a little bit of normalcy [for] the seniors,” he said.
Springer said while past in-person baccalaureate services typically included 80-100 seniors, he is hoping that more will be joining this year.
“We can’t fix it for them, but we can commiserate and have compassion for [seniors],” he said.