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Union County High School reschedules prom so seniors can still experience the special milestone

Coronavirus precautions have closed schools for several more weeks. While these measures are important, it means that students might miss out on special events.

UNION COUNTY, Tenn. — It can be a major milestone in the life of a high school student: prom.

Many people remember getting glitzed and glammed up for the big night. It can be the most important part of a person's whole high school experience.

Yet, coronavirus precautions have closed schools for several more weeks, which means students might miss out on "one-in-a-lifetime" events like prom.

"I definitely remember mine, it's something they will all remember," Whitney Rowlett said, a teacher at Union County High School. 

She is the one in charge of special events for the school, and she's personally been working on a way for students to still get to experience prom.

"My first reaction was panic, I didn't know what we were going to do," Rowlett said.

Cancelling the prom was discouraging to her and her events team. They had been preparing for it for more than a year.

"We started looking at venues last April and May, you've got to get your pricing for DJs and venues. There's a lot of work that goes into prom," Kaydnce Collins, a sophomore on the event planning committee explained.

Luckily, all their hard work will pay off. The school found a new date and will be rescheduling the big event for June.

"Getting to know you will have that no matter what is a good feeling. I know I'm excited," Collins said, who plans to attend with her Senior boyfriend.

"If we can do something like rescheduling prom, we are going to do that," Rowlett said. "We don't want them to miss out on things they would cherish after high school."

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She credits their venue, the Sunsphere, their catering company and their tuxedo rental company for working with them. She also credits students for being able to move around reservations and keep the financial strain low.

"There's a lot of money spent on the prom, too. These girls have bought prom dresses, boys been fitted for tuxedos, many students have professional photographers to take pictures; there are makeup and hair appointments made months in advance," Rowlett said.

They hope that excitement for this event will bring some comfort for students during a stressful time.

"It's a scary time, it's unknown," Collins said. "I've heard a bunch of kids say they wish they hadn't taken school for granted, you don't know how much time you have left with those people."

"The seniors who have not seen each other or participated in their sporting events or clubs will go months without seeing each other. And if we don't go back to school, they won't see their fellow classmates after that. Their lives will go separate ways. No matter what, our administrators are dedicated to having these social events since there's nothing else to have them get together one final time as a class."

Union County High School also has a backup date if the June prom gets pushed as well.

WBIR has reached out to other school districts across East Tennessee. The only other school that has also rescheduled prom at this time is Maryville High School.

Other school districts say that they sympathize with those seniors, and while they are still working to make prom happen, it's still just a little uncertain right now.