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Graduation, prom, other events hang in the balance for Tri-State seniors

Stay-at-home orders threaten end-of -year activities
Posted at 4:13 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 20:37:50-04

CINCINNATI — Tri-State high school seniors are looking at the very real possibility that year-end activities like prom and graduation will be canceled. In some cases, this means students and their families are getting creative.

Kentucky halted in-person instruction until at least April 20, and Ohio announced the current cessation now extends to at least May 1.

Griffen Kelley is the fifth of five boys and is due to graduate Elder High School at the end of the year, just like his four older brothers.

Senior year pomp and circumstance, he acknowledges, is in jeopardy.

“It’s becoming clear that a lot of these final experiences are probably not going to happen,” Kelley said.

Other activities like plays, musicals and spring sports all hang in the balance.

“Like glee club awards night, I’m the president so I won’t be able to give my final big speech and pass on the torch to next year’s leaders,” Kelley said.

View Kaewhom is a senior at Lakota East and a foreign exchange student from Thailand. A few days ago she found out students in the program must return to their countries early.

“I feel sad, honestly. I don’t want to leave right now but I have to because of the coronavirus,” Kaewhom said.

In an effort to give her the experience most seniors look forward to, her host family decided to throw her a home prom before she leaves.

“I’m so happy. I mean, when they told me they were going to do prom for me I feel like I’m so excited for that. I really appreciated that a lot. They are so sweet. They are the sweetest,” Kaewhom said.

Jaime Piening, Kaewhom’s host mother, and the rest of the family picked flowers for the stay-at-home prom.

“My kids, we all got on board and picked a theme and she already had her beautiful dress, so we all dressed up and made it a fancy affair,” Piening said. “You’re not stuck at home. You get to stay at home with the people you love.”

Kelley is trying to keep things in perspective.

“At this point, all we can do is just do everything that we can that we can control and just kind of let everything play out,” Kelley said.