The coronavirus and subsequent quarantine have shut down so many activities and events all over the world, including major events like prom and graduation for students. However, that didn’t stop the kids at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, from having their own social distancing party to celebrate prom, all thanks to an innovative community member.
A Big Idea
Carlisle resident Preston Griffin and his wife, Bailey, regularly work with teens in the area through nonprofit organization Young Life. They were devastated to know that many in the Class of 2020 at Carlisle High would not get a chance to celebrate their prom. Prom is one of the highlights of a high school senior’s year, and the couple still wanted them to have that moment.
The two thought of a way to take the prom to the streets so that these seniors could still have a good time safely. Preston thought that it would be a great idea to have a parade, almost like Mardi Gras, bringing a full-on party to the front lawns of students. The major idea would take a lot of work, though. Thankfully, Preston had some connections. He worked to reach out to other businesses to make a special day for these hardworking students. Local florists donated corsages, boutonnieres, and bouquets for the students to wear. Burger King also donated their signature paper crowns to add to the fun, and Chick-fil-A donated free meals for the students as well.
Prom On Wheels
As Preston, Bailey, and these businesses put the final touches on everything, word quickly spread over social media that this was really happening. Over 70 of the high school students signed up for the “Prom on Wheels.” They requested three songs through an online survey, with the top track being “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove. When the special night came, Preston used a pickup truck, DJ, and a professional photographer to get the event started. The crew traveled from house to house, allowing different seniors to dance for a few songs and celebrate this rite of passage. “We want them to feel celebrated in what might seem like a season of loss,” Preston said in an interview with ABC News. “They are all queens and kings for the evening.”
Indeed they were. The seniors dressed up in their formal attire and partied right in front of their homes. Some promgoers like Sydney Harrell even rode in their vehicles behind Preston after their dances were over, creating a huge parade of cars to keep the party going from place to place. “This is hands down the best prom ever,” Sydney told ABC News. “It was so wonderful to drive up and see friends you haven’t seen since school suddenly ended.”
Carlisle High School had plans to continue to honor these seniors. The school administration also held a virtual graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 to celebrate their high school achievements. District officials also shared that, if large groups are allowed to gather in the coming months, a senior weekend consisting of a real graduation celebration and prom would be held in late July.
Nonetheless, the seniors of Carlisle at least had the opportunity to dance and have a good time (at a safe distance) with their friends. It was all thanks to a community coming together and giving these teens a moment that they so rightfully deserved. Preston was incredibly proud and happy that he and his team were able to pull it off and that these seniors had such a good time. “[That day] was an incredible testament of the celebration and the fullness of life that happens when we love our neighbors and we come together as a community,” he said.
Watch a bit of the party below!
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