Prom is something a girl dreams about the entire time she is in high school. Getting her nails done, doing her makeup and especially getting the dress, but the high school seniors this year had their senior year experience cut short when the CoronaVirus forced everyone to go digital.
Many students around the country will no longer be able to go to their senior prom, including the ones in Santa Clarita.
“Our senior year is technically over in terms of events and fun activities. Personally I feel that our senior class has gone through a lot with the fires, the Saugus school shooting, and now the Coronavirus” saids senior at Valencia High School, Eva Dunn. “We were really looking forward to these last few weeks to let loose and have fun, but unfortunately we are not able to do that. We have really tried to make the best of a bad situation.”
Dunn has been trying to keep a positive attitude in times like this even though it has been really hard. “We’ve all worked so hard to get to this point and it’s heartbreaking that we can’t celebrate the way we expected to.”
Some students felt that prom would have been the last time their class could have come together as one.
“It’s pretty monumental,” West Ranch High School Senior, Brandon Arana said. “I feel like out of all the senior activities we could have had in place… we had a barbeque, a grad nite and even graduation, that was probably the biggest of them all just because the entire class of 2020 would have really come together and kind of enjoy each other’s presence, rather than at graduation worrying about…the last time we are going to see each other.”
Arana is still looking on the positive side of the situation, “At first it was a little bit heart breaking… overall I feel like this will give me a chance to look back at my senior year, at something that was supposed to be kind of like a chance to unravel after 3-4 hard years of work but I think now it’s going to become something to look back on as a year of growth, a year of opportunity, and really see what the real world is like.”
While Arana was looking forward to prom and was willing to “go all out this year” he is taking this as an opportunity to reflect and look on the bright side to a dark situation.
“I’ve probably spent close to $300 on prom already. I had bought my dress,my shoes, and my matching purse.” Saugus High School Senior, Jayde Holloway said. “Very disappointing but what can you do?
The cancellation of prom did not only impact High School Students, but also small businesses.
“Well,Corona has affected everyone. It has shut me down completely.” Owner of Bo-D tuxedo, Mark D’Haenes said. “Anything you need a Tuxedo usually requires gatherings that have more than 10 people. The governor has cancelled any groups with more than10 people. It affects our busiest season.”
“Well, we’re closed. We lost all of that corsage and boutonniere business.” said the owner of Celebrate Flowers and Invitations.
Canceling prom has been really heartbreaking for most but there might be a little light on the other side of the tunnel.
“We’re exploring other options in terms of a senior get-together over summer, yearbook signing, senior sunset,” said Senior at West Ranch High School Brooke Friedman. “We’re waiting to see what restrictions will be like over summer and then we’ll look at planning more senior events over summer if we’re able to.
Friedman is also staying hopeful, she has been looking at the future and reflecting on how the impact will be going forward.
“It may seem hard now, but in 10 years the disappointment will fade, I promise! It’s also important to keep in mind that by not attending big events like this, we’re all saving so many lives and protecting our community” Friedman said.
Many seniors have been sharing advice to other high school seniors in similar situations.
“For the first time we are all going through the same thing and are feeling many similar emotions towards this. It’s very unfortunate but this is only going to make us stronger in the end” said Dunn.
The pandemic is teaching students a new kind of lesson, one that will leave them ready to tackle anything the future holds.
“Us as the class of 2020, coming in as the next generation are going to come more prepared, more resilient, flexible just because of all of this.” said Arana.
With the transfer of virtual classrooms the teachers are still trying to be as supportive as possible.
“As an adult, we have the ability to the bigger picture of life and understand why these events needed to be canceled and it might not seem like a big deal to have a high school dance be canceled. But from a teenager’s perspective, they understand the necessity of the cancelations, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.” said West Ranch High School Math Teacher/ASB Director Mimsy Desaulniers.
She recommends that students should be doing something positive right now and stay connected to their peers as much as possible.
“It is so easy to hear the news or people talk about what’s going on and start feeling the negativity that is being put out into the world. It’s also very easy to start drifting away from the things and people that you care about when you are bogged down by negativity,” said Desaulniers. “To prevent the negativity from getting to you and starting to distance yourself, focus on what makes you happy. That might be school work, spending time on a hobby, starting a new hobby, spending time with family, FaceTiming friends, or finding ways to do things for others. Just find anything to bring some positivity into your life”
“So we typically don’t like to use words like Cancelled. Yes the prom has been Cancelled this year, but we have been using terms like “postponed”, because we want to be able to show some sort of Hope”. Principal of Hart High School & College of the Canyons alum, who has been inducted into the COC hall of fame for outstanding educator, Jason d’Autremont said.
“We were still in school when prom was postponed. Some of my seniors cried that day, others were hopeful.” said Spanish Teacher & Department Chairperson at Hart High School Rich Mickel. “It is a rite of passage that is impossible to duplicate.”
Keeping in communication with his students, Principal d’Autremont set up a senior forum where students could voice their opinions on how to go about the rest of the year.
“We need to listen to what their needs are right now, and try to understand what they feel they are missing out on. So we can try to make due. We are not going to make this right. We are going to make this, somehow, someway, try to fill that void.”
With the Senior Forum the students were able to express how they are missing all of the End-of the-year traditions.
“ March 13, that was the last day of school. They didn’t know at the time that they probably wouldn’t see many of their peers/friends again.Obviously they can see each other on a screen like this [zoom], but it’s not the same. They want to be able to have that sense of closure, sense of togetherness. We need to figure out how to do that.” Said Principal d’Autremont.
“We definitely want to make a positive lasting memory. If we listen to their needs, and try to support them, I think we’ll be successful.”
With the end of this pandemic nowhere in sight, making plans for the future only grows increasingly difficult. While still holding on to the hope of a future gathering.
“When that will be, we don’t know yet,” says Principal d’Autremont.
Written by Sophia Lesseos, Roberto Ramos and Luis Felipe Gonzalez