SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — It is prom season, an event that continues to look different this year due to COVID-19.
Many school systems are taking extra precautions because of the pandemic which means canceling an event many high school students look forward to at the end of the year.
“This would be my first year going to prom in high school,” said Austin Adkins, a high school sophomore.
One Sevier County business owner is hosting a prom of her own for students who won’t be able to have one this year.
“It is their last time to be a kid, to dress up with all their friends, and have fun,” explained Ashley Flasher, owner of Beauty and the Beast Bridal Boutique.
Flasher knows that picking out the perfect dress or tux is all part of the fun.
It’s a sense of normalcy high schoolers have been missing this entire school year.
“I didn’t go to my eighth-grade prom, I didn’t get to finish middle school,” said Gabriella Fox, a freshman at Sevier County High School. “I had to go to high school not finishing my eighth-grade year. It was really bad.”
The feeling is mutual for Alexis Cureton who has already graduated and who didn’t get to have a prom her senior year.
“I only go to play two games my senior year of softball and I was looking forward to this big whole year to be like my last year like a grand year and to me, it was just horrible,” she said.
While some area schools are gearing up for prom, Sevier County School System decided not to host them again this year because of safety concerns during the pandemic.
“It sucked not being able to go to your last prom because it’s supposed to be one of the biggest things you do out of your senior year besides graduating,” said Collin Roberts who also graduated last year.
So owner of Beauty and the Beast Bridal Boutique, Ashley Flasher, decided to do something about it.
“There’s no way we could let these kids go another year without prom,” she said. “That’s the highlight of these kids’ high school year is prom. That’s what you look forward to all four years is going to prom.”
Flasher is making sure all high school students get the chance to have one special night.
“We’re giving them a prom on April 30 at the Sevierville Convention Center for the entire county-all five schools,” Flasher said.
It’s a night one friend group is looking forward to said Caleigh Whaley who is a high school freshman.
“It will be the first prom that I will be able to go with all of them and it will be the only prom I will be able to go with like all of them together,” Whaley said.
Flasher said that so far they have sold about 200 tickets. They have about 600 tickets lefts.
The event is focused on having a prom for Sevier County Schools but other county students who aren’t able to have a prom are also invited.
“Everybody’s excited,” Flasher said. “They’re excited to get out and have a little bit of normalcy.”