Local businesses partnering to provide prom for Class of 2020

·4 min read

Jun. 10—TRI-COUNTY — The COVID-19 pandemic took a lot of things away from us over the past year. For the Class of 2020, it was a lot of those once-in-a-lifetime moments like walking across a stage to receive their high school diplomas or their final day of school.

In an effort to show local 2020 graduates that they haven't been forgotten, two local business partners are working together to give the Class of 2020 in the 13th Region the prom they never got.

Jina LaFary and Keshia Amburgey with Studio 206 decided to take it upon themselves to put together a prom for the 2020 graduates.

With a daughter who was a 2020 graduate, LaFary knew just how devastating it was for those students who didn't get to enjoy their senior prom.

"As a photographer, I knew the pictures would be something these kids would want to have and I do a senior rep group, so I offered to do all my senior reps in their prom dresses," LaFary said. "So, even though they weren't getting to have a prom, we could at least have pictures of them in their dresses.

"Everything that I kept hearing from those senior reps was 'it's so sad because the whole last half of our senior year was practically ripped away from us because of this coronavirus.' At that moment, I said to myself, 'what would it hurt to for somebody to throw them a prom?'"

Though there were rumors that eventually the Class of 2020 would get a prom, nothing ever came of it. LaFary even approached several business owners in downtown London about shutting down Main Street to host a prom for the 2020 graduates but was turned down.

"What kind of sparked the fire again was when (the Class of) 2021, all these proms started happening and not only did they get their school proms, they got proms thrown by parents and grandparents even, I just thought to myself how it's not fair that 2020 didn't even get one," she said.

LaFary talked to her business partner, Amburgey, about throwing their own prom.

"These seniors invest in us as their photographers, so what would it hurt to show them 'hey, we're investing back into you,'" LaFary said.

Initially it was only going to be the local schools but the idea grew to include all the 2020 graduates in the 13th Region.

The Roaring 20's Class of 2020 Senior Prom will be held at the Corbin Arena on July 24 and will begin at 8 p.m.

The event will have a red carpet, music and dancing, as well as some refreshments. LaFary said food and drink options are still being discussed at this time.

LaFary said that ticket prices are currently set at $30 for a single ticket and $50 for a couples ticket, though she and Amburgey are hoping to find enough sponsors to help cut the cost down.

"If we can get enough sponsorship, we'd like for the kids to get in free," she said.

Attendees may bring one plus one, with the purchase of a couples ticket. The plus one can be anyone of their choice, as long as they fall between the age guidelines of 17 to 25 years of age.

No large bags will be allowed inside the Arena and there is no re-entry. An ID will be required, along with a ticket, to enter the event.

LaFary said that safety is the top priority. To ensure the safety of all attendees, the Arena security detail will be onsite, as well as some parent volunteers working the event. The Corbin Police Department will also be patrolling outside the Arena.

LaFary is still looking for sponsors or donations to help cover the costs of putting on the event, as all money donated will go towards the event. All local business sponsors will have a banner or sign on display at the event. Any money left over from the event will be donated, LaFary said.

"We've never threw a prom before, never done anything like this but we just felt like these kids needed to know we didn't forget them," LaFary said. "I just hope that more businesses will jump on board with us—show that we're a community that wants to invest in them and show them we didn't forget them."

LaFary is encouraging attendees to arrive in style in special vehicles just as they would for their school's prom and invites parents to stand outside the event to watch their 2020 graduate walk in.

"Because the Arena is so big, we'd like for parents to be able to see their 2020 graduates get that same type of thing," LaFary said.

Studio 206 is working to put together a prom committee and invites anyone who would like to volunteer their time to join.

Tickets have not yet went on sale. Once a date has been set for ticket sales to go live, it will be announced on "The Roaring 20's {Class of 2020 Senior Prom}" Facebook page.

For more information on volunteering, to become a sponsor or to donate to the event, contact LaFary via email at info@jinalafary.com or call 606-260-7522.

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