Stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 may have canceled traditional proms, but some Highland Park students worked to make the occasion no less meaningful.
Kay Herring, whose son, Johnny, was one of the five prom chairs this year, said prom court elections went online via a Google Forms document.
After winners were determined, the prom chairs – five juniors selected by the previous year’s prom chairs – contacted the parents of the king and queen to make sure they’d be home and delivered the crown, sash, and flowers on their porches on what would have been prom night, April 18.
“When school stopped, and the shelter in places order was enacted, we started getting really concerned about prom,” prom chair Anna Haggar said. “So, like 10 days before the actual prom would have occurred, it was announced that Highland Park could do an online voting for prom king and queen.
“Once the votes started coming in, it was clear Emily (Morrow) was gonna win prom queen,” Haggar said. Clint Conger was named prom king.
“So we were kind of groggy all day until we…went to Emily’s and saw her getting crowned and the look on her face. We were all just crying…seeing Emily’s face made everything just OK and (us) realize the huge prom and decorations isn’t really what is important.” -Anna Haggar
“Everyone was really extremely sad about prom being canceled. The happiness from crowning Emily was so much better. The look on her face when she opened the door was pure joy,” Haggar said. “Once she opened the door, she put on the tiara and sash and spun around in her dress and was just the most beautiful prom queen.”
Haggar said Morrow’s parents were already planning a makeshift prom at home at the time.
“When her mom told her prom was going to be canceled, her mom said she cried for a minute, but then said, ‘That’s OK, mom, we can have prom here,’ and so we communicated with her parents and decided that was a perfect time to surprise her,” Haggar said.
“There (were) neighbors watching and her whole family was dressed up,” she said. “Emily is just the best. During school, she’ll walk around with a huge smile and come up and give you a high five. She always wants to talk… just very outgoing and kind, and Clint is a really cool guy, too. He’s a hunter, he likes to fish and hunt, but he has so many friends. Like he’s also very friendly.”
Herring said prom chairs, family members, friends, and neighbors cheered the prom court on from a distance and finished the night with a makeshift parade of cars congratulating the king and queen.
“We started prepping for prom last January, so it was a really sad day,” Haggar said. “So we were kind of groggy all day until we…went to Emily’s and saw her getting crowned and the look on her face. We were all just crying…seeing Emily’s face made everything just OK and (us) realize the huge prom and decorations isn’t really what is important.”
What: Highland Park High School spring 2020 commencement
When: 8:30 p.m. June 5
Where: AT&T Stadium
Information: Guidelines include pre-screening graduates and family members who attend for any symptoms of COVID-19 and keeping participants 6 feet away from each other unless they are members of the same household. Each family will be assigned a section to ensure social distancing.
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