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The Fairy Grad-Mothers: Sprinkling a Dose of Magic on the Class of 2020

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  • Bayliss Baker with sign

    Bayliss and his family loved hanging up his Congrats sign. WUMC Fairy Grad-Mother, Sue Jensen, was nice enough to make the sign for Bayliss since his Fairy Grad-Mother, Dolly Dawson Thomas is much better at singing than signing!

  • Audrey Leonard

    Audrey Leonard displayed a “Gig’em” Aggie thumb ready next to her Congratulations and ATM Class of 2024 sign painted by her Fairy Grad-Mother, Sue Jensen.

  • Thomas Donnell

    Thomas Donnell proudly holds his Purdue Boilermaker sign handmade by his Fairy Grad-Mother, Holli Clayton, as part of his senior care package. He was also nibbling on some Purdue-themed decorated sugar cookies.

  • Bayliss Baker

    Bayliss Baker was touched by the card from his Fairy Grad-Mother, Dolly Dawson Thomas. He was also very excited about all his snacks!

  • Audrey Leonard’s care package

    Audrey Leonard’s care package created just for her included a special note written by her Fairy Grad-Mother, Sue Jensen.

  • David Nunez, Staci DeGregori, Abby DeGregori, Jack DeGregori,

    Future Texas State University Bobcat David Nunez loved all the great surprises in his care package from his Fairy Grad-Mother, Staci DeGregori, and her children Abby DeGregor and Jack DeGregori. 

  • Bayliss Baker with sign
  • Audrey Leonard
  • Thomas Donnell
  • Bayliss Baker
  • Audrey Leonard’s care package
  • David Nunez, Staci DeGregori, Abby DeGregori, Jack DeGregori,

There have been plenty of times – especially over the last few months - when a fairy godmother could’ve come in handy. With just a flick of a magic wand, she could have fixed all the things that haven’t gone as planned.

You may not have heard, but since the coronavirus pandemic hit Houston, a new type of Fairy Godmother has been at work behind the scenes, creating some magic for high school seniors. They may not be able to fix things like cancelled proms or lost time with classmates, but they have helped put smiles on the faces of 2020 grads and their families. Meet the Fairy Grad-Mothers.

How does one become a Fairy Grad-Mother? Find a senior to adopt and surprise. Some schools or neighborhoods have coordinated sign-ups. Any gesture will be greatly appreciated and lets the senior know someone is thinking of them.

A flock of these Fairy Grad-Mothers recently came to visit the high school seniors from West University Methodist Church. WUMC has an annual Senior Sunday in May to honor graduates. This year, church services took place virtually but some church ladies were nice enough to get out their magic wands to remind the seniors and their families that the church community was still thinking about them, even if they couldn’t be together in person. Most of the graduates and their Fairy Grad-Mothers did not know each other beforehand, which made for some nice new friendships.

Some Fairy Grad-Mothers reached out to the graduate’s family to find out the student’s favorite things, such as hobbies, favorite snacks, sweet treats, restaurants, favorite scents of candles, lotion, flowers, baked goods, favorite color, their new college’s colors and mascot, and so forth.

Thomas Donnell recently graduated from Strake Jesuit College Preparatory and will attend Purdue University this fall. He was thrilled to find a special care package on his front porch, courtesy of Fairy Grad-Mother Holli Clayton. Donna Donnell, Thomas’ mom, said, “Thomas walked in ecstatic and beaming! He looked at each thing in the box and said, ‘Oh! This is so nice. These are all of my favorites!’” 

Holli’s daughters, Emily Jones, a St. Agnes student, and Olivia Jones, a West University Elementary student, had fun helping with the project. Holli shared, “Emily was a big help coordinating the care package and Olivia loved the element of leaving it as a surprise on the front porch. Stealth was key!”

Dale Waller was gracious and brave enough to “adopt” two graduates, twins Grace and Davis Evans. Both are looking forward to heading to University of Texas at Austin this fall. Grace participated in the art program at Kinder HSPVA and Davis was a jazz guitarist at PVA. On top of the usual senior milestones, HSPVA also has the tradition of seniors participating in special performances and shows the last few weeks of school. So a thoughtful surprise was especially appreciated. 

Grace said, “It was so sweet. In such a tough time for seniors, it was really fun to find the gifts. It really brightened up my day and was a fun way to celebrate my graduation.”

Bayliss Baker, a Strake Jesuit grad who’s heading to Colorado School of Mines, was touched by the gifts and card he received from his Fairy Grad-Mother, Dolly Dawson Thomas. His mom, Sarah Baker, expressed the whole family’s appreciation for the sweet surprise. Her thank-you note included: “We will never forget your thoughtfulness and generosity and will definitely pay it forward next year.” 

Lynn McCarley served as Fairy Grad-Mother for Drew Woodcox, who is graduating from Lamar High School and heading to Texas Tech University. Drew’s mom, Kristen Woodcox, said, “We are so grateful for the super thoughtful, kind gesture. This family went out of their way to show our church family’s support during this unprecedented time.” 

Audrey Leonard, a graduate from St. Agnes Academy who will attend Texas A&M University in the fall, received a note and gift from Fairy Grad-Mother Sue Jensen. “We loved it!” exclaimed Audrey’s mom, Lucy Leonard. “Sad that we did not have our usual senior brunch at church, but this was so nice. Audrey was very surprised! She loved it and even shared the candy with her little brother!” 

Dianne Lawter adopted Cameron Moore who is finishing at Strake Jesuit Preparatory and headed to Northwestern University. “It was a fun thing to do for our seniors.  I think it would be a great tradition to continue. I gave Cameron a Northwestern flag to hang on his wall because that was the first thing Jack (son) bought when we got to Duke and he had it on his wall all semester. This is such an exciting time in their lives and it was fun to be a small part of it.”

The crew of Fairy Grad-Mothers also included Josie Brown, Michele Carlin, Staci DeGregori, Tracy Everist, Janet Lindley, Lisa Smolen and Kim Weill. Honored seniors include Ethan Dearborn, a St. John’s grad who’s heading to New York University in the fall; Hayden Eversole, a St. John’s School graduate who’s heading to Texas A&M; Thomas Fuller, a St. Thomas High School graduate who’s heading to Texas Tech in the fall; Wilson Grant, an Episcopal High School graduate who’s heading to University of Texas; George Morstead, a Lamar High School graduate who’s heading to Texas A&M in the fall; David Nunez, a Second Baptist School graduate who’s off to Texas State University; Abigail Shelby, a graduate of St. Agnes Academy and will head to Villanova University; and Julia Toups, an Episcopal High School grad who will attend Texas Tech this fall. 

The world can never have too many Fairy Grad-Mothers. There are plenty of Class of 2020 seniors who could use an extra smile. You might just discover a set of wings and magic wand you never knew you had!

Bayliss Baker with sign

Bayliss and his family loved hanging up his Congrats sign. WUMC Fairy Grad-Mother, Sue Jensen, was nice enough to make the sign for Bayliss since his Fairy Grad-Mother, Dolly Dawson Thomas is much better at singing than signing!

Audrey Leonard

Audrey Leonard displayed a “Gig’em” Aggie thumb ready next to her Congratulations and ATM Class of 2024 sign painted by her Fairy Grad-Mother, Sue Jensen.

Thomas Donnell

Thomas Donnell proudly holds his Purdue Boilermaker sign handmade by his Fairy Grad-Mother, Holli Clayton, as part of his senior care package. He was also nibbling on some Purdue-themed decorated sugar cookies.

Bayliss Baker

Bayliss Baker was touched by the card from his Fairy Grad-Mother, Dolly Dawson Thomas. He was also very excited about all his snacks!

Audrey Leonard’s care package

Audrey Leonard’s care package created just for her included a special note written by her Fairy Grad-Mother, Sue Jensen.

David Nunez, Staci DeGregori, Abby DeGregori, Jack DeGregori,

Future Texas State University Bobcat David Nunez loved all the great surprises in his care package from his Fairy Grad-Mother, Staci DeGregori, and her children Abby DeGregor and Jack DeGregori. 

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