Now, all the high school senior in South Shore, Massachusetts, can do is stare at the dark blue prom dress hanging in her bedroom since December, and commiserate by phone with schoolmates who are also facing an uncertain future during the pandemic.
An outdoor photo shoot by a Reuters photographer this month did at least give her and her friends a chance to dress up and pose for the camera.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” said Appleton, 17, a state swimming champion bound for college in the fall.
The high school prom – short for promenade dance – is an American rite of passage, usually held in April through June before graduation. Plans for the event can be as elaborate as weddings, with dresses bought months in advance, stylists organized to fix hair and makeup, and limousines hired to take the partygoers to the party.
But those plans have been dashed for many of the seniors of 2020, with lockdowns that may extend through the autumn.
Boston high schoolers and best friends Lucie Mareira and Shea Mikalauskis showed up to the photo shoot in long slinky dresses, their hair tied up. Instead of high heels, they wore practical flip flops to trek around Ponkapoag Pond in Canton.
“It was a relief to get it off our shoulders, and not feel the constant sadness of not having a prom, to know others felt the same way,” said Mareira.