Inyo once again adopts high school seniors

Kristina Blüm Justice
Staff Writer

When the remaining three months of the 2020 school year were canceled due to the pandemic, the communities of the Owens Valley rallied to “adopt” local high school seniors and shower them with love and support.
Their junior class looked on, not knowing what was in store for their own senior year. It has turned out to be an entire year of – well, not much of anything – but once again the community has decided to do something about it by reigniting the Adopt a Senior project.
“This isn’t just for Bishop, this is for all of Inyo County,” said Jackie Kruze, who is leading the effort this year. “The senior class has gotten to do pretty much nothing this year, so we got to talking and decided we, as parents, should do something.”
The “Adopt a High School Senior – Inyo County” Facebook group exploded last year as community members from throughout Inyo County adopted seniors, gaining more than 800 members. This year, the group, which was never closed down, was brought back once again to celebrate the Class of 2021.
Thus far, more than 70 seniors from Bishop, Big Pine, Palasades Glacier, Owens Valley, independent study and home schools have been signed up and adopted this year. Kruse said that as soon as the seniors are listed on the Facebook page, they are often adopted within minutes.
As for what it means to adopt a high school senior, Kruse said it depends entirely on the student, the student’s parents and the community member who adopts them.
Some adopters choose to gift their seniors with gift baskets full of their favorite things and snacks (or items to help them as they begin college), while others have opted to order their senior a pizza or lunch from their favorite local restaurant.
Some have sent flowers, while some others have set up trails of clues. Whatever it looks like, the consistent theme is the community wrapping its arms around local seniors as they prepare to spread their wings into their futures.
This year has been especially rough for local high school seniors, Kruse said. They have spent most of the school year studying remotely, which has cut out all senior activities.
The Bishop seniors were able to paint their parking spots in the high school parking lot, and many of the parents banded together to purchase banners to hang throughout the school, letting the seniors know that they are loved and supported. Adopt a Senior is a way for the community to get involved and make senior year a little more special for the Class of 2021.
Anyone who is not on Facebook, either parents of seniors or community members who would like to adopt a senior, can contact Kruse at (760) 937-4494.