Mississippi students mourn prom, graduation and sports during COVID-19

Prom photo illustration.

Anna Tate
Oxford Stories

Jaznia Tate

Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Those are the wise lyrics of an old Cinderella (the band, not the Disney character) ballad. Some high school and college students are now realizing that as they complete coursework at home and social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You’ve probably heard some young people speak of FOMO, a term that means “fear of missing out.” Thanks to the pandemic, many of them are now experiencing ROMO – the reality of missing out on prom, graduation and sporting events.

Oxford High School senior Saniah Nicole Campbell said she gets emotional thinking about the fact that she won’t be attending prom or graduation.

“I watched everyone graduate, and I dreamed of my family clapping and celebrating me to walk and grab my diploma,” she said. “I always wanted that, but I know I can’t receive it.”

With blooming flowers and sunny days, spring is nature’s way of saying “let’s party,” but this year, many are social distancing.

For high school seniors, there are two big moments that define the year – prom and graduation. Everyone grows up thinking about their prom and preparing to get the perfect dress or tux.

This year, it won’t be happening unless it’s a virtual prom.

Keazha Miller, a junior at Germantown High School in Madison, Mississippi, has come to terms about her prom. She knew the pandemic was an unforeseen circumstance.

“It doesn’t really bother me that prom is getting cancelled, because at least I have another shot at it for next year,” she said. “I do feel for the seniors, however, who don’t get that chance.”

Logan Roberts, another junior from Germantown High School in Madison, said he feels like the prom should be postponed instead of cancelled.

“Some people already bought their stuff,” Roberts said, “and it is not fair for the seniors, because this is the last one they will ever get.”

University of Mississippi student Christina Brown returned home to South Korea days before a no-fly order was issued.  

“I had two days to pack all of my stuff out of my dorm room and get on a plane,” Brown said, adding that she has found online learning challenging. “A lot of people are visual learners, including me, so math or science classes, it has become harder than it already was.”

She also misses sports.

“Sports has always brought people together through tough times,” Brown said, “and right now, we have nothing. I experienced Swayze for the first time, and I couldn’t wait to go back, but now I have to wait until next February to go back. It sucks.”

UM athletes are now without their team members and games. Molly Martin, an Ole Miss soccer player, said she’s more grateful for campus classes now.

“I would say that not having class on campus has made me realize how blessed we are when we get to be on campus,” she said. “Having a semester stripped from you when you only have a few left is heartbreaking, so it makes me not want to take what I have left for granted.”

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