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LaBelle mom starts project to have people ‘adopt’ a graduating senior

Seniors in high school are missing out on so many once-in-a-lifetime moments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One mom wants students to feel special during this time, so she set up a way for people to “sponsor” a senior graduating from LaBelle High School.

There will be no graduation for those kids this year and nowhere else, for that matter.

Carlena Leeper decided she had to do something. “To show them that we as a community, we see them, we see all the hard work they’ve done and that is not going unnoticed.”

So she started the project to have people “adopt” a graduating senior.

“When I started this project, I knew no one in the class of 2020,” she said, so she created a Facebook page where seniors can describe themselves and their accomplishments.

“Then you do something to support them, whether it’s sending a card, you know, the skies the limit,” Leeper said. “You can send them a card to a gift basket so you can give them stuff to prepare them for college.”

One of those students, Sarah Sodrel, is LaBelle High’s valedictorian. Even though she’s disheartened she won’t toss her cap in the air, she’s grateful for her “three sponsors.”

Sarah Sodrel (Provided to WINK News)

Since we don’t really have like an actual graduation, I feel like it’s almost like taking the place of a graduation gift that our friends and family would give us,” Sodrel said. “We can get stuff for dorms and anything we might need for when we go to college next year.”

But there is one more thing she wishes she could do—thank Leeper face-to-face!

“I wish I knew her so I could say thanks to her face,” she said.

Leeper said she decided to create a Facebook page to make sure as many people as possible would see the post, get involved and put smiles on the faces of every graduating senior.

Reporter:Michelle Mackonochie
Writer:Briana Harvath
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