There is a community group working to make sure the last year of high school for every Onslow County senior is a memorable one despite the coronavirus pandemic that has altered the end of their final days before accepting their diploma.


Not even graduation will be what students expected, but two long-time friends want to make sure each senior feels special and receives the recognition they deserve before heading off to the next chapter of their lives.


"We were talking about how these seniors have missed so much and wanted to do something," said Ashleigh Focer. "I remember my senior year and all that we did. They are memories we will remember forever. These seniors are going to lose some of that and we thought they should be recognized.


Focer has partnered with Kristin Greer to create the Onslow County Adopt a HS Senior 2020 Facebook group, which has nearly 2,500 members.


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The goal is to get every high school senior in Onslow County "adopted" by a sponsor from the community. Parents are invited to share their senior’s information and the senior’s Amazon wish list with items, for instance, to prepare for living in dorms or college expenses, or costs for things to make their senior year special or get ready for their job ahead.


Sponsors agree to help purchase some of the items on the list. Sponsors are not committed to fulfilling the full list but Focer said a minimum of $50 is recommended.


"We know people may not be able to purchase everything on a list, especially during this time, but we do want to recognize them any way possible," Focer said.


Focer said the group is open to any high school senior in Onslow County, including those at any of the public schools, private schools, aboard Camp Lejeune and homeschool students.


Right now, Focer said, they are working to reach as many seniors as possible so they can be paired with a sponsor, which can be an individual, group or business.


Earlier this week they had 332 seniors signed up and 120 of them didn’t yet have sponsors.


Focer remains optimistic that her hometown community will come together to help as many seniors as possible.


"Our community has always pulled together," she said.


As part of the project, they are also taking donations and raising money for the purchase of gift cards.


Greer said she is working with the social workers from the high schools to provide gifts cards for seniors who may need them the most. Some of their families, she learned, are still recovering from Hurricane Florence.


Focer and Greer said they also want to be sure they reach seniors who may not be on social media and the gift cards will allow schools to distribute them to any senior that may not have had a sponsor.


Greer said anyone not on social media can contact her at kgreer001@gmail.com for sponsorship or donation information.


For details on the project, go to the Onslow County Adopt a HS Senior 2020 page on Facebook. Look under announcements for full information.


Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.