SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE – Prom may be canceled, but nine students working at the Spangdahlem Army & Air Force Exchange Service food court donned their formal wear anyway for a small taste of the prom-night experience.
The group, which also included teenagers who work at the Exchange’s standalone Popeyes restaurant, showed up for their shifts decked out in formal wear for prom-style pictures and activities April 25—the original date of their senior prom.
It wasn’t quite the same—students had to wear protective face masks, keep at least 6 feet of physical distance and limit prom-like activities to before and after work and during scheduled breaks—but it was a welcome moment of normalcy after more than a month away from school.
“Being away from our friends this long is a bit taxing mentally because we are used to going to school and having those day-to-day interactions,” said Subway associate and Spangdahlem High School senior Andres Mercado. “This let us have a moment that we probably wouldn’t have had otherwise, especially those of us who already purchased clothing for our prom.”
Sporting specially made “Class of Quarantine 2020” face masks, the students cast ballots for prom king and queen, dined on hors d’oeuvres and enjoyed a brief, albeit physically distanced, dance in the closed food court dining area.
“Prom is such an important part of the high school experience, and while we can’t change the current circumstances, we can bring them a measure of normalcy during this exceptionally challenging time,” said Col. Scott McFarland, the Exchange’s Europe/Southwest Asia commander. “These students aren’t just our associates, they are a part of the military community we serve—this is exactly what we mean when we stay the Exchange is ‘family serving family.’”
Food Court Manager Michelle Hetcher, Assistant Manager Hermine Schroeder and Foreman Frankie Coogan came up with the idea when the students, who were originally going to take the day off for prom, were scheduled for work on April 25 shortly after the prom was canceled.
“The girls already had their dresses, but no reason to put them on,” Hetcher said. “Even though things are tough right now, we wanted them to have the opportunity to get dressed up and get their photos taken. I think being able to do that on the same day they would have gone to prom was very meaningful to them.”
Charley’s associate and Spangdahlem High School senior Rebecca Frazier said while prom was second only to graduation as the milestone she was looking forward to most, being able to do a few prom activities at work helped ease the disappointment of the event being canceled.
“Even if this wasn’t exactly what I envisioned for prom, it was really nice to come to work and have something to make the day a little less stressful,” she said.
Facebook-friendly version: Prom may have been canceled, but high school students working at the Spangdahlem Exchange still got the chance to dress up in their formal best and get a taste of the prom-night experience on April 25. Read more: https://wp.me/p9Q7PG-1lY.
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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 62nd-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.3 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at http://www.shopmyexchange.com or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.
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