Courtesy Jonelle Plahuta
Like many seniors, Jonelle Plahuta was disappointed when she learned Prom had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, but she wasn’t about to be consumed by self-pity.
“I honestly was kind of expecting [Prom to be canceled], but I was still a little upset when I found out it was for sure,” Plahuta said. “I told my whole family the day of Prom, I was going to dress up anyway because I really wanted to wear my dress. My mom and sister set up a table, my dad made dinner and my boyfriend came over and we all had a nice dinner all dressed up.”
Another group of friends, seniors Daniah Jarrah, Audrey Johnson, Isabel Burden, Sarah Paylor, Trinity Stivers, Eva Keenan and Emma Welman celebrated Prom via a Zoom call.
“We got dressed up in our dresses and wore makeup and did our hair — we went all out,” Jarrah said. “Then we played some music and mostly talked. At one point me and Trinity pretended to slow dance and held our laptops and danced. It was pretty funny.”
While getting the chance to catch up with each other, the girls had a surprise guest: author Alex Cooper, whose book “Saving Alex” has been made into an Lifetime original movie.
“A few hours in, we joked about getting a famous person on our call,” Keenan said. “We saw that Alex Cooper was live on Instagram, so we asked her to join our Zoom. We all DM her the link and password and about 20 minutes later she joined and talked to us!”
Senior Abriana Camilo’s family surprised her with a quarantined Prom; complete with dinner and a dance party.
“I chose not to go to last year’s [Prom] and thought ‘oh, it would be fine I’ll just go senior year’ and then corona happened which I wasn’t expecting,” Camilo said. “I felt like I was going to miss out on an important milestone of high school, and I had to accept that until my family surprised me with an at-home Prom. It was so funny because my mom was cooking all afternoon and cleaning up outside and I was so confused. Then she showed me our table with decorations and told me to go get ready. So my whole family got all dressed up and had dinner and a dance party. I wouldn’t trade that memory for the world.
Though an at-home Prom has its advantages, Plahuta said she misses what would have been, West Shore’s Prom.
“The food was much better and it was nice just being able to get ready whenever I wanted and didn’t have to rush to be anywhere on time,” she said. “But I definitely missed being around all of my friends — especially for one last high-school dance.”
By Bailey Hetzel