By Shawn Chitnis

LOUISVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – A high school senior decided to host her own prom when her school announced the event would be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. She spent the evening with her family, a chance to create a special memory with them in place of the traditional experience with classmates.

(credit: Amelia Schantz)

“There are going to be bad days and there’s going to be some things that get cancelled and that’s hard to deal with,” Amelia Schantz told CBS4 on Thursday. “People are finding ways to connect and stay on track, and live a normal-ish life.”

She announced to her parents and younger sister on Friday that they would have prom at home two days later on Sunday. The family worked to create an evening of fun together.

(credit: Amelia Schantz)

“In a normal prom, I wouldn’t get to experience any of that with my daughter,” said Mike Schantz, her father.

Schantz had already purchased her dress for prom so the family bought an inexpensive one for her younger sister to join in on the event. She is set to graduate from Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette this May. While prom won’t happen, she hopes commencement can still go on in some form for the graduating class.

“I think it’s graduation that we’re all on the edge about that we really want to try and have,” she said. “It’s hard right now but finding time with your family and new things to do in the house, outside of the house, just makes it better.”

She says she already attended prom and other dances in the past but graduation is the experience she still hopes to have in the spring. Since she was at home, she got to share this special day not only with her parents but her sister in the eighth grade.

“Amelia just came to us and it was just a fun idea,” said Isabelle Schantz, her younger sister. “It’s a rough time but it’s kind of nice that you get to just reunite with your families and spend time together.”

The family used Christmas decorations and old party supplies to decorate their home, they also made a photo wall and pulled out the disco ball. The effort to stay home and practice social distancing also let them support local businesses by ordering flowers and picking up takeout from a nearby restaurant.

“We’re going to have hard times in front of us, bad days, this was a good day,” said Terri Schantz, her mother. “We’re all locked inside. We’re all doing it for the purpose of the good.”

What should be a sad time for a senior turned into a joyful day for the whole family. Her mother shared photos on Facebook and she posted on TikTok. Other people saw how they made the most of the Coronvirus outbreak and it brought a smile to many others watching on social media.

“We have to lift each other and if we can make you smile, if you can make your family smile, your friends smile, do it virtually, share these moments of happiness,” her mother told CBS4.

It is a thought that Schantz shares with her family, not only was it a chance to truly enjoy time with loved ones but it may inspire others to do the same. She says anyone can create special memories even if they are missing out on the events so many look forward to this time of year.

“If other people are trying to do that for you, you have to do that for yourself as well,” Schantz said.

Shawn Chitnis

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