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Port Arthur schools’ Adopt a Senior blows up in popularity; still time to join in

It didn’t take long for the Port Arthur community to band together to honor the Memorial High School and Woodrow Wilson Early College High School classes of 2020.

In fact, 24 hours after launching of a Facebook site to adopt an MHS/WECHS senior, there were already 200 members. That number was about 325 by Monday and is on the rise, said Marilyn Kennerson, Memorial receptionist and campus designee for substitute teachers.

Kennerson said she had no doubt the community would pull together for the seniors.

“I knew Port Arthur would stand up for Memorial High School and Wilson Early College High seniors,” she said.

“The Port Arthur Independent School District has been in conversation as to how they might honor their 2020 seniors. We were pleased when one of our senior parents originally started the idea about two-weeks prior.

“Fortunately, the parent had to return to work and we were able to pick up where she left off. There have been many ideas, from staff members, students and parents, that have been considered, but of course we have to make the best decision for our community. We are proud of our seniors and the work they have done, and I am sure they will be pleased with the tentative plans we have in place.”

What to do

The MHS/WECHS Facebook page is set to private, so you likely need to know someone in the group and be invited. Or, you may call Kennerson at the school from 9 a.m. to 2 pm. Monday through Friday at 409-984-4000, ext. 1.

Kennerson said group administrators will contact the person wishing to adopt the senior and the parent of the student will be tagged. This helps the community member know what the senior likes, and all of their favorites. Then the items will be sent.

The group admin is careful on who has access to the site and students are not allowed as members.

Sierra Ledet, Memorial registrar, said she is appreciative of the community response.

“I absolutely love it,” Ledet said. “I had no doubts. We love our kids like everybody else does.”

The project is a large undertaking as the schools have a combined 400-plus graduates. But the women did not want a big group of people heading up the project, saying they rather multi-task.

Memorial Activities Director Stephanie Williams explained what the project means to her.

“We are at the end of these kids’ senior year, and they needed an activity to give them closure for their final run in public school education,” Williams said. “We see this as not only a way to celebrate this main milestone but allow parents and the community to encourage them and celebrate them as they move forward.”