It was her first prom, and Julia Ryan was excited.

Ryan, 17, is a senior at Cheverus High School. The Jesuit-run private school in Portland doesn’t hold a junior prom, only one for its seniors. When schools all over the country began closing in March because of the coronavirus, she didn’t think it would mean missing the end of her senior year.

“I definitely thought we were going back,” Ryan said.

The yellow dress she bought back in February hung in her closet as March stretched into April. She put on her prom dress on in mid-May for a portrait; her family all came outside to see her in it.

The year 2020 will be one without a lot of the things we hold dear. It might be remembered as the year without hugs from friends, the year without packed stadiums or the year without weddings. For high school students, it will most likely be remembered as the year without a prom. These portraits are of 11 Maine high school students who are dealing with this new reality.

Some schools told their students they would plan to hold a prom in August. Casco Bay High School in Portland sent out an online survey to seniors asking them what they would prefer: Hold prom for the Class of 2020 over winter break? Save the funds for a five- or ten-year reunion?


Casco Bay senior Monte Almashkoor, 18, said he hopes they have a prom over one of the breaks.

“It’d be fun to all get together again,” he said.

Westbrook High senior Zainab Almatwari, 17, said that even if her school holds prom in August, she most likely won’t be able to go – she’ll be leaving for college in Syracuse, New York.

Jaehee Park, a junior at Greely High School in Cumberland, said she’s grateful that she’ll have another shot at prom next year, but she is still disappointed that she’s missing out on an opportunity to make more memories with her best friends.

“You only get so many years with the people you grow up with in your hometown,” she said.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story