DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN)–Thursday night, local Durham students from the classes of 2020 and 2021 came together for a special night that they never got to celebrate.
Devonjaih Burnette, who graduated in the class of 2021 from Durham Public Schools, said: “This is suppose to be a night that you know every 19 and 20-year-old is suppose to remember already. So now that I can have it, I feel like crying, honestly!”
Devonjaih said she received a donated dress and jewelry for the night. She said, “You know, my mom almost cried, I’m wearing this dress that I didn’t really have the money for but now I got it… the jewelry, the earrings… this is amazing.”
Maggie Lewis, who helped organize the special event, said her two nieces had also missed their prom in 2020 after the celebration was cancelled because of COVID-19. It’s part of the reason Lewis wanted to make up for the lost opportunity.
“Bull City really came together to make this happen,” Lewis said.
Lewis said it didn’t take long for several volunteers and businesses to come together to support her vision. From the DJ to the caterers, she said 12 local businesses stepped up to make the night a special occasion.
Barry Garrett, who owns a photography business, was just one of the several people who volunteered their time and services Thursday night.
“I enjoyed my prom, and I feel sad that COVID happened and a lot of kids missed out on that opportunity. I mean those memories last for a lifetime,” Garrett said. He shared that he wanted to help capture the moments and memories being made for students to look back on.
Lewis said she originally planned the event for students at Durham Public Schools, but after the word spread across social media, she opened the celebration to everyone in the community who never had the chance to go to prom.
She said a lot of students thanked her and added, “It was like, hey, it was 2020… two years later somebody is still thinking about us.” Lewis said a lot of things happened during the pandemic; this night was for them.