Pop-up prom livens up quarantine time for teens

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While the coronavirus pandemic has affected school children around the globe, high school seniors have especially been negatively impacted.

“On my last day in school, I didn’t know it was my LAST day of school,” laments senior Noelle Smith, 18. She is graduating from William Penn Charter High School and will attend Howard University in the fall.

In order to help a few seniors recapture some of the revelry of their missed proms, Dominique Casimir came up with a pop-up prom that was held Monday, May 25, on the steps of the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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“We’re all able to make lemonade out of lemons,” she said. “Moments don’t cost anything.”

Casimir said the students have worked hard for years to be able to enjoy their senior status and all of the rites of passage attached to that. But she said she wanted to give them something to cling to as their last year in high school has basically come to a halt.

“It’s a good way to bridge a new beginning,” Casimir said.

Smith was joined by Sierra Gee, Sydney Kemp and Madison Tyler for the pop-up prom.

Gee, 18, is graduating from North Penn High School; Kemp, 18, from Harboring Horsham High School and Tyler, 16, from Julia R. Masterman High School.

All of the girls will be attending Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Smith said that when she arrived at the Art Museum, she couldn’t believe how many people came out to support them. Many had ties to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Black Greek organizations.

“I was just in awe of seeing so many people there. It was just so empowering. I got my prom moment. It was just wonderful,” she said.