Copperas Cove neighborhood holds Prom Parade
By BRITTANY FHOLER
With the help of their neighborhood, juniors and seniors living in the House Creek North subdivision in Copperas Cove received a chance to have a prom of their own, despite school being closed and their traditional prom being cancelled.
Members of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club Chapter 78 led a parade of decorated vehicles carrying the students decked out in their finest up and down each street in the House Creek subdivision. Some residents of the neighborhood stood in their front yards and on the corners of the street to cheer and clap for the students.
The parade stopped at several locations and allowed for the students to get out of their vehicles and dance to one song at each stop, with the final stop being at the dead-end corner of Jesse Drive and Ashley Drive. One of the motorcycles played “The Electric Slide” and then “Copperhead Road”. Other songs at the previous stops included “The Cha Cha Slide.”
There was also raffle ticket giveaways at each stop, made possible by donations from Tracy Honea, Jenny Schmitz Richard, Theressa Mingo and Darlene Smith.
The idea for the prom parade was started by Lisa Wright, who saw how upset her nieces were at the loss of a prom. She posted in the neighborhood’s Facebook group about her idea and asked for support. She eventually was contacted by Kellie Sadler and her husband Michael, who is a member of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club. The plan changed to add line dances to music played by the motorcycles.
“During these very hard times of not being able to go to school and enjoy all of the end of the year festivities such as the Junior and Senior Prom really hurt our students emotionally,” Wright said. “These are some of the most memorable moments during our high school years. Most of our students had bought their dresses and suits already. It made it even more of an emotional journey for them. I feel by being able to give them something to look forward to such as a parade where they could see their friends meant the world to them.”
The prom parade also acted as a way to honor the students for their hard work in school and coping with COVID-19 and all of the resulting changes, she added.
“They were deprived of everything they worked so hard for,” Wright said. “They deserve a little bit of recognition from all of their parents and guardians.”
Sadler said that she thought the prom went well.
“We wanted to make sure that they had a memorable [prom],” Sadler said. “That definitely is memorable! Who else could say that they did this for their junior/senior prom?”
Wright said that the people waiting outside to cheer on the students as they drove past was wonderful.
“That’s the best part of this neighborhood is that no matter what, at some point, we all come together and then we always, for example, the parade- people that even though they didn’t have younger kids, and juniors or seniors, they still come out and support,” Wright added.
Michael Sadler led the parade on his motorcycle. Although his own children are grown, they got to experience their own traditional prom, he said.
“I think it’s awesome. It gives them a chance to have something that they normally wouldn’t have due to the circumstances,” Sadler said. “I think it’s really a blessing that they were able to do something for them, so that down the road when other people are talking about their colleagues or whatever and start talking about their prom, at least they can say ‘Hey, this is what we did here.’”
Senior Briana Buchanan wasn’t able to purchase her prom dress in time before the dress boutique closed its doors due to COVID-19. Her mom, Christine Mendez-Buchanan, said her daughter doesn’t have Facebook and so she was unable to see the post about the prom parade, so she kept it a secret. Mendez-Buchanan told her daughter to dress up and that she was going to hang out with her friends. In reality, she was going to get to experience her senior prom after all.
“It’s bittersweet only because I didn’t get to send her to the prom with her friends in the traditional way,” Mendez-Buchanan said. “It warmed my heart. I see her having such a good time with all the other kids, and I know that they’re all going through it, and it’s really difficult, but they had a good time, and I’m so glad.”
Buchanan said she was lucky enough to go to her junior prom but understood that there were those who hadn’t been able to, so this prom parade was special.
“It was just nice of the community stepping up to do something since we can’t really have like all the juniors and seniors class be together, so I think it was really nice and refreshing,” Buchanan said.
Unlike Buchanan, others at the prom got their prom dresses or suits early, and for most stores, there is a no-return policy, so those students are stuck with their dresses, some of which cost hundreds of dollars.
“People spend hundreds of dollars on dresses and you can’t even wear it to a prom, so now that everyone gets a chance to feature off their dress in some way, I think it’s really cool,” Buchanan said.
Mendez-Buchanan added that she was so grateful to Wright and Sadler for their work in putting on the prom.
“The community is just so great,” Mendez-Buchanan said. “I’m so grateful to live in this neighborhood that they would do that.”
Hazel Hughes drove her son, Devon Hughes, 17, in the parade.
“It’s a great thing to get us out of the house, you know, us being cooped up in there,” Devon said. “It’s a real nice opportunity for us to spread our legs and see each other again because we don’t know if we’re going to ever see each other again because all of us are going to college and stuff, and [COVID-19] happened, so it’s a great experience for one last chance.”