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Hundreds of people in Martin County 'adopt' high school seniors as surprise amid coronavirus

'They get snatched up like lightning'
Posted at 11:04 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 09:07:03-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — The class of 2020 never expected to be wrapping up their high school days without being able to experience many big milestones.

"Their senior prom, senior nights, and different activities they would normally partake in have now been interrupted," Latoya Spann said.

Spann, now an assistant principal at a West Palm Beach school, wanted to do something else to make the end of their year special.

She noticed a group in Palm Beach County had formed to "Adopt a High School Senior."

Spann wanted to see something similar in her hometown and for her high school. She grew up in Indiantown and graduated from South Fork High School.

She discussed starting a similar group in Martin County with her friends Rolonda Worthen and Heidi Dove.

They came up with the idea to start a Facebook group where they could showcase local high school seniors, and people could step up to "adopt" them.

"Within three days, the group was already at about 1,900 members," Spann said.

More than 300 seniors have been adopted by people who are otherwise complete strangers.

MORE: WPTV Virtual Yearbook - Upload your student's photo

"I'm telling you, they get snatched up like lightning," Spann said.

The sponsors are tasked with coming up with a special surprise. Spann said there has been an outpouring of generosity.

"From gift baskets to dorm essentials, to college gear, to gift cards, just to simply name a few," Spann said.

She adopted one of the first girls to be promoted on the page.

Katherine Ferro wrote up a post about her daughter.

"I created my own little post for my daughter and less than an hour later, she was adopted. It was amazing," Ferro said.

"She missed out on concerts, on senior night," Ferro said. "She missed out on awards banquets, and she missed out on just being with her friends for the last time. She never knew that when she left for spring break that she wouldn't be back."

Spann said she already has ideas for a few surprises up her sleeve. She is also committing to being a mentor to Ferro's daughter when she goes to college at the University of Central Florida.

"She seemed just really, really goal-oriented," Ferro said. "She seemed driven, knew what she wants to accomplish. It's not just for the financially needy. It's not for the financially needy at all. It's for everyone. It's just to recognize them and tell them, 'Hey, we're here to support you.'"

Ferro has even returned the favor and also adopted a high school senior.

Spann recently adopted a second senior from Indiantown who goes to South Fork. That was her ultimate goal.

Now she hopes to be able to find sponsors for as many high school seniors as possible to give them a positive moment in the mix of missed memories.

"The community loves you and we have you guys on our minds," Spann said.

Anyone wanting to join the Facebook group can request to do so here.