200 Darien families 'adopt' graduating high school seniors

Photo of Brian Gioiele

DARIEN — Some high school seniors received early graduation gifts last week.

More than 200 families from the school community surprised the soon-to-be-graduates with creative and thoughtful congratulations as part of the Darien High School Parents Association’s Adopt-a-DHS Senior Program.

The families, who were randomly matched with a graduate, were asked to drop off a homemade card or sign, a flower from their yard, or a small token to their senior’s mailbox or front porch. Their tributes included festive cards and posters featuring original artwork, balloons and many other treats.

“The visit today reminded me after 20 years of living here just why we chose Darien — what a special community it is filled with people who are kind and generous,” said Catherine McNeal, a parent of an adopted senior.

The DHSPA created the Adopt-a-DHS Senior Program last year to celebrate the Class of 2020 when schools closed in March due to the COVID pandemic, which forced the seniors to missed graduation, prom and other end-of-year activities.

Jennifer Fallon, DHSPA volunteer, said the program was so well received by the seniors and their adoptive families, it was brought back to celebrate the Class of 2021 after a long year.

"My son got his delivery today and was so excited,” parent Wendy Rebello said. “What a smile on his face to see it on our porch.”

“It was a nice treat for our seniors,” parent Brooke Kennedy added.

Fallon said the DHSPA enlisted the help of the elementary and middle school PTOs to spread the word to their school communities and to bring the Adopt-a-DHS Senior program to life.

“Senior parents shared their student’s interests and plans for next year via a sign-up link to help make the project even more personal, and participating families were then randomly paired with DHS seniors,” Fallon added.

Fallon said families of younger students enjoyed creating their signs, poems and artwork and coming up with ideas “to make the graduates feel special and appreciated, and seniors were grateful to receive their surprise deliveries and touched by the kindness of another Darien family.”

Elizabeth Martinez, whose family adopted a senior, said she and her children enjoyed participating again this year.

“It’s a fun way to honor the seniors,” Martinez said.

“My freshman and I enjoyed putting together (the) package,” said Talita Moss, whose family adopted a senior. “Such a sweet idea. We loved participating.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com