Virtual proms let high schoolers celebrate together despite social distancing

[ABC’s Good Morning America reports on how a California teen used TikTok to share her home celebration of her high school prom and then expanded the idea to a public virtual prom event. See the original story for four different pictures and five videos. For more information see a (pay walled) story in the San Francisco Chronicle and these related stories:


[Image: Natalie Reese FaceTimes with her best friends Chloe Padden (left) and Gabriella Tolle, who also dressed up to re-create their canceled prom virtually. Source: San Francisco Chronicle. Credit: Michael Short]

California teen organizes #TikTokProm after hers gets canceled over coronavirus

March 25, 2020
By Angeline Jane Bernabe

When Natalie Reese’s high school canceled prom due to concerns over coronavirus, she didn’t want her prom dress to go to waste.

So, the high school junior from Danville, California, decided to get dolled up, wear the pale pink gown she bought a few weeks ago for the event and surprise her family in their living room.

“I walked over to my dad and his jaw just absolutely dropped,” Reese told “Good Morning America.”

Like many teens across the country whose proms were abruptly canceled, the 17-year-old was looking forward to the milestone with her friends at San Ramon Valley High School.

“I was really bummed out when I heard that my prom was going to be canceled and I wanted to still have the feeling of feeling beautiful, like a princess, just like I would at prom,” Reese told “Good Morning America.”

Reese documented the moment of getting ready for “prom” in a video that she shared on TikTok with the hashtag, #TikTokProm. The end of the video featured her and father sharing a dance. Since she posted on social media, the video has received more than 143,000 views.

But Reese didn’t want prom to end there. After she published the video, she came up with an even bigger way to keep the dance alive with a virtual prom that anyone could take part in.

The teen chose March 28 for the online party — the same date that her high school prom was supposed to happen.

The way she’s hoping it would work is that fellow TikTokers would join by sharing a TikTok promposal on the app leading up to the event and the day of, everyone will flood the “For You” page and post content of what prom at home looks like.

Reese kicked things off with several videos announcing #TikTokProm on her channel.

She even shared a promposal of her own asking a fellow TikToker to the event.

“She’s trying to make the best of a tough situation,” her dad, Bryan Reese, said of his daughter’s ambitious personality. “This generation can sure do impressive things. So I’m hopeful for her that other people participate in it and it becomes a big deal because it sure is a creative way to make something good out of something that’s rough.”

Since California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a sweeping order for Californians to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the state, the Reeses, like many across the country, have been doing their best as a family to stay active and busy during this time.

As a close family of six, they make it a point to do at least one activity together each day while in quarantine.

And while Reese’s TikTok videos have been keeping the entire family busy, they’ve also banned together to create sanitation kits filled with disinfectant wipes, water and gloves for delivery workers, which they leave on their front porch.

“We are sharing what we have,” Reese’s mom, Laurie, told “GMA.” “The idea came from the trend this past Christmas when people left out snacks for their delivery people. We got such a great response from that, we wanted to keep helping.”

While these are uncertain times for many in the U.S. and around the world, Reese offered some sage advice for teens her age and even those at any age.

“Just keep smiling,” she said. “This is temporary and we can make the best out of this situation that we’ve been given.”


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