From Attire To Entertainment, This Year’s Senior Proms Were Like None Other In US History

From Attire To Entertainment, This Year’s Senior Proms Were Like None Other In US History

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“At first no one really knew whether to dance,” Miranda Myers said of her prom at Lee’s Summit High School, adding the dance floor soon filled up. (Courtesy Jessica Brown)

Just a few months ago, many of this year’s high schoolers didn’t know if there would be a prom to mark the end of another unusual year.

Among the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a loss of some of the final moments of adolescence: gathering for football games, sitting in the lunchroom with friends and accepting a diploma onstage in front of loved ones.

But in a time marked by uncertainty and change, this phase of the pandemic looks a lot different than it once did. Vaccines are now available to adolescents as young as 12, and more than 50% of the US population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. The daily average of reported Covid-19 cases has dropped below 20,000 — down from more than 250,000 in January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

America’s progress against the virus has brought back long-awaited milestones: weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, and for many students, a return of their end-of-the-year prom. While it looked different than most years, administrators said they worked hard to make it feel as much the same as they could.

“The thing about Covid is not only did we miss out on things, but we haven’t been able to mark the last years of high school with any milestones,” Kingston High School senior Morgan Halady said. “When I finally got to get out of my house … I finally felt like a senior. I finally felt some of that closure — like this is it.”

CNN spoke to students from Conard High School in Connecticut, Lee’s Summit High School in Missouri and Kingston High School in Washington State to see what a prom in a new normal looks like.

Most years, senior prom is a chance to get dressed up and celebrate a major transition surrounded by friends. But for this year’s senior class, it has taken on a much bigger meaning.

Arrival Zach Tempia enters prom at the Seattle Aquarium, holding his card verifying he is healthy. (Courtesy Olympic Photo Group)

Ed Call hands out Daily Wellness Attestations to students entering prom. From left: Olivia Call, Olivia Costello, Thomas Brown and Curtis Upton. (Courtesy Olympic Photo Group)

Lee’s Summit High School students check in to attend prom on their football field. (Courtesy Jessica Brown)

Whether walking into the Seattle Aquarium, as Kingston students did, or onto the school football field like Lee’s Summit high schoolers, entering this year’s prom venue felt like a victory.

Many students said they have been learning remotely all year and hadn’t been with people their own age in months. And with more prom events opening up on short notice as gathering restrictions eased, some weren’t sure they would go until the last minute.

“It’s a maybe for everything this year,” said Kingston senior Kylee Walker. “I wasn’t really sure if I was going to go just because this whole year has been really iffy.”

But even with loosened restrictions, many schools kept precautions in place. At Kingston High School’s prom, students filled out yellow cards affirming their health status. They entered with their pre-selected groups of 10 and were given a wristband to mark their group. Upon entry, they all had their temperature taken as well.


Cassidy Cannon, left, Sophie Capps-Hawkins and Kaitlee Tellez dance at Conard’s prom. (Courtesy Premier Portraits Studio, LLC)

Morgan Halady gets her temperature taken to enter Kingston’s prom in her coordinated ensemble. (Courtesy Olympic Photo Group)

Jazmin Maldonado, left, Destiny Colon and teaching assistant Brianna Bobo photograph the festivities. (Courtesy Premier Portraits Studio, LLC) For Halady, it was important not to let Covid-19 take away from her full exper

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From attire to entertainment, this year’s senior proms were like none other in US history

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