Community holds pre-prom event for Austin-East students, supporting them after a tough year

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s been a year filled with tragedy for the students at Austin-East Magnet High School. Over the span of four months — the student body has lost five of their own. The most recent — Anthony Thompson Jr., who died April 12.

Friday was prom night at Austin-East. It was an opportunity for students to focus only on having a good time.

YR Productions put on a pre-prom event for students to help them get a head start on the festivities.

“This is a perfect time for us to just like von said wrap our arms around them, show off some of the most beautiful gowns and tuxedos for their prom and just bring love back into this community,” said Yvette Rice, the organizer of the event.

After a tough year dealing with COVID-19 and the death of their classmates, this was a well-deserved mental break for students.

“In light of everything that’s been happening, this is something I’ve been looking forward to this whole week,” said Ahya Moreno, a senior at Austin-East.

This event is actually a yearly tradition, but Rice says it was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

“This year is so special for us because Austin-East high school has been through so much. Those students have been through so much in the last couple of months,” Rice said.

The event included a fashion show for students to show off their outfits, a DJ, a professional photographer and food.

Anthony Thompson Jr’s father Anthony Thompson Senior was also at the event. He was honored by organizers shortly before it started.

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