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Save the prom! After 2 years of COVID, Meriden steps up to ensure students can make memories

Ticket sales fell short of the minimum, putting this time-honored tradition in jeopardy.

MERIDEN, Conn. — When you think of spring, maybe you think of allergy season or Easter. For the students at Wilcox Technical High School, it’s all about prom season.

After two years of no junior prom because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the class of 2023 was thrilled to restart this rite of passage.

“This is a moment to finally wear a dress, dance and have fun,” remarked Alyssa Tack, a student at Wilcox Technical High School.

RELATED: These Connecticut organizations are helping students find a dress for prom

So, they got the green light and booked the venue – Aria in Prospect – and they signed the contract.

But then disaster struck. Ticket sales fell short of the minimum, putting this time-honored tradition in jeopardy once more.

“It was a little scary yesterday thinking we were going to have to cancel it,” said Stacy Butkus, the principal at Wilcox Technical High School.

However, there was light at the end of the tunnel.

The Meriden community came together to save the students from missing out on this important milestone.

“I have just been heartbroken over how many memories these kids are losing,” said Russ Smith, the pastor of the Meriden Hills Baptist Church.

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Illiano’s Restaurant, the local YMCA, the Meriden Hills Baptist Church, Cariati Developers, Inc. and other anonymous donors quickly mobilized on social media and delivered a $3,000 check in 24 hours.

Credit: FOX61

“I have seen people online saying we would love to do free makeup and free hair. We want to give you a dress, don’t borrow one we want to give it to you; it's only been worn once,” Smith said. “So many community members are now jumping on board to make sure these students have a great memory.”

RELATED: West Haven cheerleaders organize prom dress drive

So, the prom will go on.

“I'm very excited,” said Tack. “I want to say thank you. And that we are very grateful for all of it.”

And all proms need to have a theme. This year the theme for the Wilcox junior prom is “Under the Stars.” It will be held on April 23.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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