WESTFIELD – A group of parents of the Westfield High School Class of 2021 has started a gofundme page for “Senior Surprise Gifts” for each of the 270 members of this year’s senior class.
“This is a completely parent-funded event. It doesn’t have anything to do with the school,” said Kelly Prenosil, whose daughter Nina Prenosil is president of the senior class.
Prenosil said back in September, they started a Facebook page for Parents of WHS Class of 2021 to have a place to communicate, share good news and ideas for their seniors’ last year of high school.
She said originally they had a group of 40 or 50 parents involved, who talked about doing a “Welcome Back Bag” for the seniors at the start of the fall semester. But then they didn’t go back in-person to school right away.
“A core group of about five of us developed the Gofundme page, planning something that would make the kids happy and get everyone involved. We wanted to give one nice personalized gift for the class to give out,” Prenosil said. She said they borrowed the idea from another town that had done something similar and received a great response, but the idea had already been growing organically in the group since September.
The Westfield High Senior Surprise gofundme page, which launched on Tuesday, had already raised $1,000 by Wednesday, with a goal of $4,500.
“It’s February and we LOVE our seniors!!,” wrote Prenosil in the introduction.
“Help us show the love by letting them know how proud we are of their perseverance this year. We would like to celebrate this awesome class with a SENIOR SURPRISE for each of our 270 seniors. The surprise will be a special, custom senior gift and possibly other small items depending on funds raised. We appreciate any donation to help fund this effort to provide every WHS senior a memento of their time here. We hope to distribute in early March as they kick off their Spring season.
“Feel free to share with family and friends so we can show the Class of 2021 our BOMBER PRIDE!!,” she wrote.
Although Prenosil didn’t want to say exactly what they have in mind for the seniors, she said they do have a Plan A, if they don’t reach their goal, and a Plan B, if they go above and beyond. “We’ll use the funds for spring events,” she said, adding that their thinking behind the event was, “Let’s plan for the worst and hope for the best – see what happens with the parents and the community.”
Prenosil said the Class of 2021 has already missed Senior Luau, the Senior Masquerade, and the Semi Formal. She said her daughter and her friends are doing okay, considering the state of the world. She said they are a “great group of kids. Athletic, very active; they lean a lot on their friends,” adding that they are mature, and understand that this is part of a bigger problem.
“They do miss being with their classmates and their friends. It’s nice that they are able to go back every other week and see some of their class,” Prenosil said. The entire class hasn’t been together in a year.
Prenosil said one of the kids was saying recently that “they kind of forgot about the Class of 2021.” She said that comment was the incentive for the parents to start the Gofundme page now.
“They’ve really been good about it. We just want to give them a pick me up. This is a way to shout out to them,” she said.
Prenosil said if anyone wants to play a bigger role in their planning, “we welcome it,” and said they can get in touch through the Facebook page at “Parents of WHS Class of 2021.”
“I couldn’t have done this without the support of the other parents and the community, too, who have been very receptive,” Prenosil said.