Angilique Jones-Cornelius, a wife and mother of four, has a passion for working with high school students. She has spent 20 years working for Milwaukee Public Schools, formerly as a teacher and currently as a high school counselor at Golda Meir High School. While our current Safer at Home order doesn’t allow her to physically be at school, Jones-Cornelius is still having a huge impact on Wisconsin’s high school students.
Just over two weeks ago, Angilique Jones-Cornelius followed the advice of an out of state friend and started a Facebook group dedicated to uplifting Wisconsin’s high school seniors: Adopt a High School Senior Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jones-Cornelius is making sure that the right people get access to the private group – community members that are seeking to uplift and students who need support during this time. In that short amount of time, over 500 high school seniors have been added to the page and adopted and over 3,000 individuals have joined the page looking to adopt a young person. And these numbers increase every day.
Anyone seeking to adopt a Wisconsin high school senior needs to request access to the Facebook page. Once admitted to the group, potential adopters can scroll through the feed to find a senior that they’d like to adopt. Then, they simply comment “I would like to adopt” (or something along those lines) and then it is up to them to reach out to the individual who posted the senior – usually a parent or caregiver – and take it from there.
Adopters have supported their adopted seniors in many different ways. Some have offered mentorship, others have created and sent college survival baskets and gift cards, others have had yard signs made and put in the seniors’ front yard. The beauty of this group is that the relationship between adopter and adoptee can be anything creative and interactive.
And potential adopters and adoptees are not the only people reaching out to Jones-Cornelius. Local businesses have offered their services and products to help support these high school seniors. Iconic Milwaukee clothing companies and designers like Words & Images, The Classic Shoppe and The PRIORITY Movement have offered up their t-shirts; Delicious Bites and Jizzles Sandwich Shop have donated food to local high school seniors; and Mario Dickens Creations has helped adopters create custom yard signs for their adopted students and Jostens is offering 50% off their items for seniors that are involved on the page; individuals have donated masks to the group for students who are considered essential workers. Jones-Cornelius says, “I really appreciate the community’s support, around the state. The community has just wrapped their arms around these students.”
Jones-Cornelius is also accepting cash donations for a scholarship fund that will help provide additional financial assistance for our graduating seniors as they head off to college. She is hoping to award 10 scholarships to 10 seniors in the amount of $500.00. If you are interesting in donating to this scholarship fund, you can reach out directly to Jones-Cornelius who is accepting monetary donations through her PayPal account.
The sheer amount of love and support coming from this page is easy to see by just scrolling through the page’s feed. When I asked Jones-Cornelius about a story that has really resonated with her, she told me about a teen mom in the group who was adopted and who reached out to tell Jones-Cornelius just how much this group has meant to her. “…[T]he love and support that she has received with gifts and encouraging words have meant a lot. She felt so alone and now here she has support and encouragement. You do have students that are isolated, truly, in the quarantine, they don’t have a lot of family around them…..” and this group has become like family to a large number of high schoolers. If you are interested in adopting a Wisconsin high school senior or posting your own high school senior, visit the Adopt a High School Senior Milwaukee, Wisconsin Facebook page.
Adopt a High School Senior Milwaukee, Wisconsin is offering our local students support in real time during this pandemic, and Jones-Cornelius is already thinking about ways to help our high schoolers experience high school traditions, like prom and graduation, in a virtual way. Her creativity and passion is having a real impact on our young people and she is bringing her counselor motto to this new situation: “Everyone’s journey is not the same, but we will figure it out together.”