Coronavirus: High-schoolers take their proms online

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Senaida Ng

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Teens like Toronto's Senaida Ng attend online dances

For many high school students, going to the ball is a rite of passage and a highlight of the academic year. It is a time when they ignore school work, get dressed and have fun with friends.

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"The dance was something I had been waiting for since high school. The end of last year is the most exciting time in high school, because it is our last months with our friends before graduation and I was very excited to have all the special experiences that come with old age, "Senaida Ng from Toronto, Canada told the BBC.

But with social detachment due to the coronavirus outbreak, students in the US and Canada, like Senaida, are seeing the school cancel or postpone the dance.

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"I bought my ball gown in 10th grade and was looking forward to the day when I would wear it for my prom. I even planned a big promotion to invite a celebrity to the ball," said the 17-year-old. "I am really sad that I am never able to do these things and even though I know that I am not the only one to suffer these disappointments, it is still very sad."

Isabella Domidion, from Kentucky, has also been planning her high school prom for some time.

"I was really upset about the cancellation of our prom. This should be my prom, which everyone has been waiting for so long."

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Isabella Domidion

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Isabella held a virtual dance with her sister and friends

Like many teenagers at the moment, the two high school students attended a virtual dance. The virtual dances take place on sites like Zoom, YouTube, Twitch and Tik Tok, which feature several videos of people wearing their planned clothes. The hashtag's virtual dance has more than one million entries.

Before their virtual dance started, Isabella and her sister would pose for pictures outside their homes in their clothes, just as they would at the school prom.

"We treated her like we were at a personal dance. A friend of mine started and she invited several people. She played music all the time and we even danced during the cha-cha-slide," she said. .

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Lauren Woolums

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Participating in a virtual dance allows students to celebrate the end of the school year

Senaida participated in a virtual dance so popular that she was unable to participate in the Zoom party.

"I think there were between 1,500 and 2,000 people watching. People started creating their own zoom chat rooms, so I went into a random room and ended up meeting a group of teenagers from all over the world. We had fun talking and meeting one to the other, "she said.

Virtual dances have become a phenomenon that celebrities are participating in to ensure that high school students don't miss out on the dance experience.

Many high school students are going through a stressful period. Some had exams canceled or delayed, while others had their degrees transferred to the Internet.

Actor John Kraskinski organized his own ball, telling viewers that "they were missing many things and we couldn't let the ball be one of them". He was joined by a number of celebrities like Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper and Jonas Brothers.

Sophia Gannaoui lives in Florida, where there are rules of social distance. His ball was postponed to June or July, but if the rules of social detachment do not change, it is unclear whether that would happen after that.

She decided to attend Krasinski's prom and made a video of herself getting ready on her YouTube channel.

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Sophia Gannaoui

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Sophia Gannaoui was unable to buy the dress at the store, so she wore one of her mother's dresses

"I made a group call with two of my friends so that we could watch and chat with each other. It was a lot of fun to try, because we've never experienced a virtual dance in that sense before," she told the BBC.

Like others, she had planned her outfit for some time, but was unable to buy the dress because the store was closed due to social distance.

"I planned all my clothes, from my dress to my nails, my hair and makeup. The dress I wore was an old dress from my mother that I always wanted to wear and I thought I could put on a random dress that I didn't wear on past, so it was a great excuse for me to go back to my closet and play dress up. "

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Sophia Gannaoui

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Actor John Krasinski organized a virtual dance for high school students who cannot have their own

Sophia added that, for some people, a virtual dance is less frightening, especially when it comes to the idea of ​​dancing. She said her friends were not the dancing type, but during the virtual dance, they seemed to have the confidence to try.

"It was nice to see them cross that barrier and be able to be like that behind a computer screen, so that they have their conveniences when it comes to increasing confidence."

With the popularity of virtual dances increasing and measures of social distance still in place at the moment, it appears that high school students will likely continue to book their dances online. But it's worth?

"It gave me something to look forward to, and a way to celebrate all the hard work this year with all the people I love, while practicing safe social detachment. It was really a blast!" Isabella said.

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Media caption"Dear Class of 2020": messages from high school students to their peers

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