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My Prom Story

Writer, Gwendolyn Dickey, Memphis

High school seniors across the globe hustled to each class, went to parties, attended games and dances and were anxiously looking forward to prom and graduation. When suddenly their lives came to a screeching halt thanks to a nationwide pandemic called Covid-19. Prom, a tradition first started in 1894, and continued throughout the decades, is a luxury the Class of 2020 will not get to enjoy. The proud moments and embarrassing graduation pictures will not be added to the family photo album or posted on mom’s Facebook page for all the aunts and uncles to see. Many students are disappointed and feel left out from the traditions most seniors experienced

Recently, the media has honored local Class of 2020 graduates with shout-outs and congratulatory wishes for their accomplishments. Some parents are still having graduation parties with limited guests to respect social distancing rules. And Shelby County Schools is working on a plan to honor graduating students during the summer. Despite their efforts and global support, there’s still a void where prom and graduation should have been. One of my very close friends, Zarria Mabone, Class President at Kirby High School in Memphis says, "It's just something I've looked forward to my whole life and to not have that experience, it literally breaks my heart."

The abrupt ending of this school year was not only heartbreaking for Zarria. My boyfriend Charles Bridges, is a senior at Overton High School, and we were set to attend prom March 28th. I had already got my prom dress and it’s still at the seamstress. He says, “Prom and graduation feel like the two main parts of being a senior. You have been in high school for four years, and this is the climax,” he explained.

Nevertheless, he realizes the events had to be cancelled to keep everyone safe. “Granted, I am still going to miss prom and graduation, and I am sad that I lost it, but we are all doing what it takes to keep the Coronavirus from spreading,’ he added. “We are all sacrificing something."

Photo of Gwendolyn Dickey