RI teens waste no time dress shopping after learning proms will be possible this year

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Soon after Gov. Dan McKee said high school proms can happen this year, senior Jaden Porter and her friends met up to try on prom gowns at a Cranston boutique.

It was a trip she never expected to happen.

“As soon as school started this year, I didn’t think there was any possibility of us getting one,” she said. “So I was very happy to hear.”

It did take long for the 18-year-old to find a dress, especially with the help of the boutique’s owner, Stefania Spas.

Spas said she couldn’t keep track of the number of teens walking into her shop to look for gowns Thursday.

She said it was overwhelming, especially after she spent the last year wondering whether she would have to close up shop for good because of the pandemic.

“A lot of emotional nights, a lot of tears shed,” Spas recalled. “This is my life.”

But as life slowly returns to normal, the state outlined specific safety guidelines for high school proms.

During the state’s weekly coronavirus briefing, Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said students will be allowed to dance, but only with members of their “pod.”

“If you’re orchestrated at a table, you can do that,” Pryor said, referring to it as “pod dancing.” “It’s with the people that you came to the dance with and people sitting at your table with you.”

Porter said this is something she can live with, so long as she and her friends are able to go.

“It’s definitely weird, but I’d rather be able to dance in a group than not be able to hang out at all,” she said.

Stefania couldn’t agree more.

“It’s their senior year,” she said. “They deserve that moment. They’ve worked hard for it.”

Porter said she’s also looking forward to having an in-person commencement ceremony, which McKee announced would also be possible this year.

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