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48 LVHS Seniors Get Personalized Baskets

Once again a team of uber generous community members hit it out of the ball park.
Last Friday, organizer Jessica Risler and her team of donors gave 48 custom-made gift baskets to seniors about to graduate from Lucerne Valley High School. The event was held in the school’s Sgt. Brian L. Walker Memorial Gymnasium where the colorful baskets were awaiting on the bleachers for the rightful owners.
Mrs. Risler, who serves as vice-president on the Lucerne Valley USD’s Board of Trustees, co-founded the program last year when community member Mary Watson suggested the idea.
The Adopt-a-Senior gift basket idea came about as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, which severely hampered the final months of the Class of 2020’s senior year. Due to more severe restrictions last May, the organizers and crew of VIP volunteers, including school site administrators and Superintendent Peter Livingston, personally delivered the baskets. The community once again embraced the gift basket idea this year.
According to Mrs. Risler, each member of the donor team was given a biography of their student and then created a personalized basket with gifts pertaining to that student’s particular interests.
“Every donor made their own basket of goodies,” said Risler, who runs the Lucerne Valley-based Kiwi Sandals with her husband Rhett and father-in-law Lee Risler, the company’s founder. A consensus among the seniors emerged: Most students wanted gift cards, including Amazon, Subway, In ’N’ Out, Wendy’s and video games.
But there was more.
As the seniors were gathered on the bleachers, Lucerne Valley Middle High School co-principal Nate Lambdin said, “Raise up your travel cup. Now take off the top and look inside.” Inside each LVHS Class of 2021 travel cup was a crisp $100 bill, courtesy of Scott Hert, president and CEO of S.S. Hert Trucking, a longtime supporter of Lucerne Valley schools.
The sight of the wide-eyed students eagerly opening into their gift baskets made for an emotional experience for the organizers and community donors, many of whom were on hand.
“To imagine they created a basket for every single student, it’s amazing,” Mr. Lambdin said afterward. “And for Hert Trucking to give them each $100 — it was like Christmas for them.”
“It’s the most rewarding thing I do,” Mrs. Risler said. “To see the faces on those children when they open their baskets, it so rewarding.
Afterward, the students gathered around tables and signed their school new school yearbooks.
The commencement ceremony for the Lucerne Valley High School Class of 2021 will be held on Ron Peavy Field at the high school at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 28.
Gift baskets awaited for their respective Lucerne Valley seniors on the  bleachers at Lucerne Valley High School’s Sgt. Brian L. Walker Memorial Gymnasium. Photo by Kelly Boeing
Senior gift basket organizer Jessica Risler (in blue Lucerne Valley jersey) chats with seniors as they sign each other’s yearbooks. Photo by Kelly Boeing
Scott Hert addresses the seniors during the Adopt-a-Senior gift basket presentation. Photo by Kelly Boeing
LVHS seniors are all smiles during the gift basket presentation, especially when they discover Scott Hert of Hert Trucking gave each student a $100 bill inside their travel cups. Photo by Peter Day
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