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Halifax graduates celebrate #PromIsOn2020 over social media

Bridget Gillespie, a Citadel High School grad, is seen in her prom dress at her Halifax home Thursday May 14, 2020. Gillespie is helping to organize a virtual prom.
Bridget Gillespie, a Citadel High School grad, is seen in her prom dress at her Halifax home Thursday May 14, 2020. Gillespie is helping to organize a virtual prom. - Tim Krochak

A lavish prom dress, which has been hanging sadly in a closet for six months, is finally getting a workout.

Citadel High School grad Bridget Gillespie pulled it out Thursday to wear for a video that will be a part of a virtual prom on YouTube May 22.

Gillespie, along with thousands of other graduates, are missing out on celebrations this year because of social distancing restrictions, but that’s not stopping her.

Student Life Network, a company based in Toronto which hosts a member-based website, put a call out across the country for students to join a virtual prom organizing committee. Gillespie jumped on board.

@studentlifenetwork

Join the prom wave across ##canada in support of ##kidshelpphone ##promison2020 ##studentlifenetwork

♬ Finesse - Bruno Mars

The committee came up with Prom is On and set up three ways for students to participate. The prom wave is a Tik Tok challenge where students are encouraged to perform and wave to their fellow grads in a short video. Over on Instagram, grads are asked to post their prom-posals (to dogs, friends, whoever/whatever) by using the @studentlifenetwork tag.

✨BREAKING NEWS✨ Prom 2020 is totally on (with a few adjustments). . . . . If you feel like you’re in limbo with your school’s current prom situation, given the current global situation, this one’s for you 😀. We’ll be hosting a nationwide virtual prom for you guys to show off your prom looks! Why? Because you deserve it, seriously. . . . . There will be DJs. There will be giveaways. And there will be a lot of cool humans doing cool things 👀. . . . . Stay tuned for more details on #PromIsOn2020, and let’s make prom history, together apart! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 . . . . #student #studentlife #studentsuccess #studentproblems #studentpains #education #learning #school #university #college #studentsupport #studenthelp #tuition #studentgiveaways #studentstruggles #studentmemes #highschool #studentperks #scholarships #collegelife #universitylife #financialhelp #financialfreedom #studentstuff #studentlifenetwork #studentnetwork

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And then there’s the big night on YouTube May 22 at 9 p.m.

“We’re trying to get Canadian celebrities to say a little advice to the grads, maybe a shout out,” Gillespie said. “We’re also having Loud Luxury DJs doing a set and we’re going to have prize giveaways."

Bridget Gillespie, a Citadel High school grad, in her prom dress, as her mother Eilleen and neighbors comment on her dress in the backyard of her Halifax home Thursday May 14, 2020. - Tim Krochak
Bridget Gillespie, a Citadel High school grad, in her prom dress, as her mother Eilleen and neighbors comment on her dress in the backyard of her Halifax home Thursday May 14, 2020. - Tim Krochak

Anyone participating can RSVP on the Prom Is On website, with each RSVP leading to a donation to Kids Help Phone.

For someone who’s been looking forward to graduation for years (and who bought a dress in November), Gillespie said missing the celebrations is tough to get over.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for a while and I’ve booked my makeup, my nails, my eyelashes and everything. It’s definitely disappointing, but I know you have to accept that it is what it is,” she said. “It was disappointing at first but I choose not to think about it too much.”

On the bright side, organizing the virtual prom has kept her busy and has connected her with fellow students in a time of isolation.

“It’s nice to feel some kind of aspect of prom, that’s caring right now and that’s really nice.”

Prom is hopefully only delayed and will eventually happen when it’s safe, said the 18-year-old who plans to study nursing next fall.

"I know it may be a while but we still might be able to do it, even if it’s not organized by the school board, even if it’s just different friend groups doing it with their own groups, that’s something to definitely look forward to.”

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