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"Ding Dong Ditching Senior Baskets" Bring Gifts to NKY Grads

Shauntae Godsey was disappointed, like many parents and their kids, when local high schools determined that they would not be able to host a traditional graduation ceremony for this year's high school senior class.

Her daughter, Destyni, is set to graduate from Boone County High School in Florence where she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average.

Shauntae is familiar with losing out on graduation. She dropped out before finishing.

But she was excited for her daughter.

Without a graduation ceremony, at least not yet, Shauntae Godsey started thinking about a way to celebrate the senior class at her daughter's school and beyond in the Northern Kentucky region.

She knew that she wanted to offer gifts to the seniors, but had to be organized and creative. She remembered the childhood game, ding-dong ditch, which typically involves someone ringing a doorbell and then running away before the door is answered.

She spread the word to friends and online, and then donations started pouring in.

"My basement is full right now," she said, "but when I start filling the gift baskets, everything will go quickly."

The gift cards don't take up a lot of space, but things like personalized water bottles, graduation signs, shirts, and lots of other goodies designed to make these seniors feel special, take up some room.

"I don't want anyone to be left out," Shauntae said. "I would like to give every single Northern Kentucky graduate a gift basket. That is my goal. But I need help to do it."

She now has a team of helpers. 

A Facebook group, Ding Dong Ditching Senior Baskets, was created and has grown to roughly 900 members, with a handful of people monitoring it. A quick scroll through the posts shows family sharing pictures of their 2020 graduates from Northern Kentucky schools. 

Shauntae comments on the photos with a request for addresses.

So far, more than 400 seniors are on her list to be dinged, donged, and ditched.  

Shauntae's plans are to assemble the baskets, disinfecting everything, and then traveling to each student's house, putting the basket on the doorstep, ringing the doorbell or knocking, and then running away. 

When the student comes to the door, one of Shauntae's helpers will snap a picture.

The original deadline to help was Sunday, but Shauntae expects to extend that. A GoFundMe page has been set up for monetary donations, and has raised $1,300 of a $3,000 goal as of this writing.

"My daughter is very excited about this, and glad that I started doing it," said Shauntae. "I am glad that I can do one thing to bring a smile to their faces, and a little senior fun during this time!"

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor