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MARY MEAUX — Many in Mid-County, Port Arthur rallying to celebrate 2020 seniors

I’ve learned not to be surprised when, after a disaster, the folks in Southeast Texas pull together and help one another.

It’s almost like a given, this show of support that brings us together even when we are pulled apart by floods or hurricanes and now a pandemic is added to the list.

This newest act of kindness is aimed at high school seniors who are experiencing one of the worst imaginable senior years.

Their school year cut short after spring break, these seniors looked forward to academics, sports, the fine arts and various competitions, as well as senior prom and of course walking across the stage at graduation.

While COVID-19 robbed these prospective graduates of many experiences, big-hearted individuals across the area have chosen to “adopt a senior.”

Kelly Plante started the Adopt a Senior program for Port Neches-Groves High School. She jumped through many hoops, connected with a lot of people and now every graduating senior has been adopted by a random community member three times.

Students have received pizza deliveries, gift cards, money, handwritten notes and more, Plante told The News earlier this week.

Some of the students receive gifts once and others weekly.

The idea has been picked up across the tracks in Nederland, where the Nederland High School Project Celebration 2020 group is sponsoring Bless a Bulldog.

According to information from the Facebook page, participants are asked to pray for the adopted senior and send a letter or card with words of encouragement. If they choose to include monetary gifts, the organizers suggest it be limited to $20. After all seniors have been adopted, the organizers will post or notify of the time and place to drop off the items that will then be addressed and mailed.

There is also an Adopt a Senior program going on for Sabine Pass seniors in a private Facebook group.

Sadly, there is no organized adopt a senior group for Memorial High School students, but some students have been adopted by other similar Facebook groups.

A much larger group “SETX Adopt A 2020 Senior” has some local seniors from Memorial High School as well as surrounding school districts being honored.

The class of 2020 came into the world not long after 9/11 in a nation consumed in grief, pain and disbelief as well as a renewed sense of patriotism.

Closer to home there was Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008 — both of which were eye openers to the dangers of wind and tidal surge, of communities being cut off from larger cities and the need to be self sufficient became mandatory to survive.

Hurricane Harvey with its devastating flooding also pushed kids out of their homes and schools disrupting life, as we know it.

And then came the good; the heroes who braved it all to get in a boat and rescue others. Those who had, gave to those who didn’t have.

And now with the pandemic, people are sewing masks for others, social distancing is the norm and schools are closed, along with all of the associated activities.

Southeast Texas is once again coming together to help — this time it’s the high school seniors on the receiving end.

Thank you to all who helped and congrats to the seniors of 2020.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com.