Thomas Stone, Maeve O'Toole and MK Rusnock, high school seniors graduating from Ursuline Academy, wear their prom attire while posing for photographs for Reuters after their prom was cancelled due to the coronavirus disease in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Reuters
Caroline Afonso, MK Rusnock, and Maeve O'Toole, high school seniors graduating from Ursuline Academy, wear their prom dresses, after prom was cancelled due to the coronavirus diseas.
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.
Lauren Copeland, Camille Steiger, Ruby Roberts, Micah Long and Elizabeth Toomey, high school seniors graduating from Dana Hall School, put on masks while posing for photographs for Reuters in their prom dresses.
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.
Graduating Cohasset High School senior Emily Appleton, who plans to attend Dartmouth College to swim and study Biomedical Engineering, poses for photographs for Reuters in her prom dress.
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 organised to fix hair and makeup, and limousines hired to take the partygoers to the party.
Gwyn McLear, a graduating senior at Beaver Country Day School, poses for a portrait for Reuters in her prom dress.
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.
Caroline Afonso and MK Rusnock, high school seniors graduating from Ursuline Academy, walk through the Arnold Arboretum while posing for photographs for Reuters in their prom dresses.
“By doing the photo shoot we’re helping other people by saying we’re going through it too,” said Mikalauskis, an aspiring nurse.
The teenagers said they were getting through the dull hours of 24-7 lockdown by exercising, baking, journaling or chatting.
“Everyday feels like Sunday” was a common refrain. “Surreal,” said Melina Bertsekas, from Lexington. “I’m still kind of in denial.” Caroline Afonso, however, was relieved.
Lauren Copeland gets ready to drive away with her classmates after posing for photographs for Reuters in their prom dresses, after prom was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
“The drama around prom is so stupid. The actual prom is boring,” said the Dedham teen.
With little certainty about how or if colleges will reopen in the fall, teenagers are stuck with few options. Paying high tuition fees for online classes makes little sense - but neither does taking a gap year to stay at home. But lessons from the lockdown are gems.
Cohasset High School seniors Lauren Fein, Emily Appleton and Page Hewitt get ready to pose for photographs for Reuters in their prom dresses.
“You learn who your real friends are,” said 18-year-old Lauren Norton.
Elsewhere in Europe, frustrations with COVID-19 curbs were spilling over, with scuffles breaking out at a large anti-restrictions protest in the German city of Kassel, and thousands joining a similar demonstration in Liestal, Switzerland.
Latin American countries are bracing for difficult weeks ahead as the disease spreads rapidly across the region, even as much of the world exits lockdowns that have wrecked economies and stripped millions of their jobs.
As mask-wearing becomes part of everyday defences against the coronavirus, Belgian designers are turning medical masks into chic accessories.
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