No prom? No problem for local couple

BRYAN EATON/Staff photoThe Newburyport High School prom was canceled due to the coronavirus, but that didn't deter Ashley Tavares,17, and her boyfriend, Will Smith, 18, from having their own prom since she already bought a dress for the occasion earlier this year. The two dined outside at Mission Oak Grill on Thursday night. After dinner, they went to her parents' house, where the rooftop deck was decorated with twinkle lights and balloons so they could dance.

NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport High School prom may have been canceled on account of COVID-19, but two lucky students got their own private celebration Thursday night thanks to their parents.

Ashley Tavares, 17, and Will Smith, 18, both of whom graduated with the Class of 2020, were treated to a private dinner at Mission Oak Grill, where they were applauded by the restaurant’s outdoor dining customers.

It was an enjoyable and important moment for the teens, who like many high school students, missed out on their prom because of the global pandemic. 

“They didn’t get closure with high school because of COVID, prom is a rite of passage and while it wasn’t the way everyone’s prom usually is, it still will help them transition into college,” said Katie Tavares, Ashley’s mother.

After dinner, the young couple took pictures near the waterfront and finished the evening with dancing on a rooftop deck at a private residence, Tavares said.

“It just meant a lot to both of them,” Tavares said.

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