Seniors at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attended their prom on Saturday, but some moments of the day’s events were, not surprisingly, somber.
Many of the Parkland students are outspoken activists now, and they honored their classmates who were killed in the school shooting in February. But they’re also still teenagers who want to do normal things, and of course many of them want to go to their senior prom.
Anisha Saripalli, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, told NBC News that it was “sad” that her best friend, Carmen Schentrup, couldn’t attend the prom, because she was a victim of the shooting. “She was the most excited to go to prom,” Saripalli said about her friend.
Some of the students honored their lost friends in meaningful ways while still attending the prom. Nicolette Miciotta and Carley Ogozaly honored their slain friend Meadow Pollack by posing for a prom photo with her father, Andrew Pollack. Ogozaly also wore the dress Meadow had planned to wear to the prom, in her memory, the Miami Herald reported. And the teens traveled to the prom in a pink limo that had “We love you, Meadow” written on the windows.
“I would have just worn a simple black dress,” Ogozaly told the Miami Herald. “But I know Meadow would have argued with me that it would be too plain. Me wearing this pink sparkly thing and me doing my nails the way Meadow would have is my way of making sure Meadow doesn’t miss prom.”
According to the Miami Herald, the Parkland teens who were named among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People were also at the prom. The teens featured in the magazine included Emma Gonzalez, Alex Wind, Jaclyn Corin, Cameron Kasky, and David Hogg. The teens have fought publicly for stricter gun control legislation after the tragedy at their school. The Parkland students organized the March for Our Lives on March 24, and they’re still advocating for reform.
Another student, Dillon McCooty, accompanied his late friend’s girlfriend to the prom. Joaquin Oliver was also killed in the shooting, so McCooty and Oliver’s girlfriend, Victoria Gonzalez, went to the prom together in his memory.
Parkland students are off to Stoneman Douglas prom tonight! Joaquin Oliver’s best friend, Dillon McCooty, is taking Joaquin’s girlfriend Victoria Gonzalez to prom, in honor of his friend. ❤️
— (@WashNews) May 5, 2018
Julia Cordover, Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s senior class president, told NBC News that the prom was “another way to take in the reality of everything” after the tragedy. “It’s not necessarily a celebration but also a remembrance,” Cordover told the outlet. The students are honoring their lost friends, but they’re still living their lives as teens and going to prom.
One student, Sara Imam, wrote on Twitter that the students’ prom photos will include “empty spots” where their lost classmates would have been. “Tmrw, let us celebrate their lives, and enjoy our #prom for them too,” Imam tweeted on Friday.
With my dress laid out with all my matching accessories, I can't help but remember;
There will be empty spots in our prom pictures tmrw.
There will be space on the dancefloor for those we lost this year.
Tmrw, let us celebrate their lives, and enjoy our #prom for them too.
— Sara Imam // #NEVERAGAIN (@_saxarmaxim) May 4, 2018
Prom is in 6 days and 6 beautiful souls who would have danced the night away with us won’t see it, because of cystic fibrosis, suicide, and gun violence. Ethan, Kaitlyn, Meadow, Nick, Joaquin, and Carmen are flying higher than ever.
— Nikhita Nookala (@nikta04) April 29, 2018
Today is prom. A night we have all been looking forward to for such a long time. Tonight we will not have 6 eagles with us to celebrate and it just seems surreal. Meadow, Joaquin, Nick, Carmen, Ethan, and Kaitlyn you are with us forever <3
— Aly Sheehy (@Aly_Sheehy) May 5, 2018
Another student, Demitri Hoth, tweeted that his late friend Carmen Schentrup would be “dancing the night away with me in my heart” at prom.
Carmen will be dancing the night away with me in my heart!!! https://t.co/F4Grh1kXuP
— Demitri Hoth // #NEVERAGAIN (@DEMICHX) April 29, 2018
After all the Parkland students have gone through, they deserved an evening to just feel like regular teens again.
It’s clear from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students’ actions and tweets that their late classmates will never be forgotten. But it seems they found a way to celebrate their prom night while still honoring those lost.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
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• The Parkland shooting suspect is getting fan mail, money, and sexual pictures in jail
• Fox News host who mocked Parkland survivor is threatened with boycott