A Forever Prom

Since the beginning of her junior year at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, Reilly Spitzfaden has been looking forward to her Junior Prom. Then came the Coronavirus pandemic and schools across the country cancelled proms due to social distancing guidelines. However, Reilly was not deterred. “I was not going to let COVID-19 stop me from having one,” she said. “I asked my dad if we could do an at-home prom, and he said yes!”

Reilly oversaw the food, decorations, and music for her prom. She invited her grandparents, Uncle Bryan and Aunt Josie, and Aunt Marie who practiced social distancing. “It was probably the most fun I have had since quarantine,” said Reilly, who enjoyed putting together a music playlist that featured everything 80’s rock hits and show tunes. Her dad made a prom poster. Light shows were the main decorations. Food was ordered from Reilly’s favorite Mexican restaurant, Santa Fe. There were many photo opportunities for Reilly and family. Wearing a floor length mauve colored gown, Reilly posed with her father, Paul Spitzfaden, who wore a white tuxedo jacket, yellow cummerbund, and ruffled blue shirt. They accessorized with chic face masks.

Her favorite prom moments were sharing the celebration with family and giving a one-woman show of Hamilton. Since she was in the 8th grade, Reilly has participated in the stage crew for the school’s annual musical, something she looks forward to every year. Until she can see her friends in person, the seventeen-year-old keeps in touch with them. To her peers who are experiencing home distance learning, she offered this advice: use the extra free time to your advantage, read the book you always wanted to read, pick up a new hobby, reconnect with friends and family, learn a new skill.

When school does reopen, she most looks forward to seeing her favorite teachers in person, and her junior class as seniors, adding, “Ever since Rally Day, the Class of 2021 has never been closer. I deeply miss every single one of my classmates and I cannot wait to see them.”

Her dad sees his daughter’s prom experience through the lens of both a parent and part of the school community as he is Dominican’s Athletic Director and has been a faculty member.

“Dancing, eating, laughing as a family will be a wonderful memory associated with the corona craziness,” he shared. “As a dad, my favorite part of the night was seeing Reilly’s smile throughout the whole evening and her saying it was a prom that will live with her forever.”

NOLA.com article ‘New Orleans family brings junior prom home for Dominican High junior’