Inyo communities wrap virtual arms around Class of 2020

Kristina Blüm Justice
Staff Writer

As graduations, prom nights and senior activities have been canceled due to the pandemic, the communities of the Owens Valley have once again found a way to make the best of a difficult situation with the Adopt a High School Senior – Inyo County Facebook group.
“I’m shocked by how well it’s taken off,” said Kimberley McCormick, who started the group. “Our community is amazing.”
There are Adopt a Senior groups throughout the country. McCormick said she was invited to one in Southern California, but she wanted to do something for seniors locally. She figured most locals already are closely connected and want to do something about the situation, why not make it easier for them to shower love on the Class of 2020?
“I just woke up Sunday and ran with it,” she said with a laugh. “We have 600 members in the group and already more than 50 seniors adopted, and it’s just been amazing. Every time I log onto Facebook, I see another one and it just brings tears to my eyes.”
Most of the activity in the group has been for Bishop Union High School seniors, but it is open for seniors of all Owens Valley schools including Big Pine, Independence, Lone Pine and Palisades.
“When my daughter found out graduation was canceled, she cried,” McCormick said. “I told her, I wish I could change this for you, but I can’t. It is what it is, we just need to move forward and do what we can.”
It turned out, McCormick wasn’t alone in how heartbroken she was for her senior. As soon as the Facebook group was started, it received tremendous support from the community, other parents and local school alumni.
Already this week, only a few days after the group started, high school seniors are feeling the love from their community as they’ve received baskets full of their favorite snacks, flowers and cards from their community angels.
Because local schools could not give out lists of names, McCormick has had flyers printed to put around town. Any parent or guardian of a local high school senior is invited to post a picture and brief bio of their graduate in the Facebook group. There is a brief questionnaire for the student to fill out, basically saying what they enjoy and what they are interested in. Then, they can be adopted by people in the community who can send them gifts, cards and support.
For those who are not Facebook users, both parents or guardians and potential adopters who want to participate are able to do so by contacting McCormick at (760) 258-7694 to coordinate an email exchange.
“You don’t have to be on Facebook to participate,” McCormick said. “Everyone who wants to participate should be able to.”
For Facebook users, join the “Adopt a High School Senior – Inyo County” group.