Along with the pomp and circumstance of graduation, one of the signature rites of passage for high school students that has also been canceled by the pandemic is the senior prom. But two students from Forsyth County, Ga., provided hundreds of fellow high schoolers with a virtual senior prom Saturday via Instagram Live that was DJed by none other than DJ Jazzy Jeff.
NBC News reports that brother and sister duo Charlie and Hannah Lucas hosted the “We Are Well Prom” to help young people cope with the mental health challenges they face amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The event was attended by over 500 virtual guests and featured a digital red carpet, celebrity appearances, and of course, music and dancing.
Hannah, 18, and Charlie, 15, made the event happen by reaching out to celebrities and others on social media, and aside from giving students the prom experience they deserve, they were able to raise funds for grants and school supplies.
The siblings reached out to celebrities on social media and were eventually contacted by Ivy McGregor, the CEO of IvyINK and Beyoncé’s director of social responsibility, who offered to help.
They also worked with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who helped with fundraising, so the two were able to give away more than $40,000 in cash grants that students could use toward tuition, books, laptops, internet access, therapy or other basics.
“The money was being used for a really good cause. Kids will be able to afford college now, so I’m really happy about that,” Hannah told NBC.
Other companies chipped in to make the virtual prom experience extra special.
Other companies, such as Sebastian Professional and Pandora Jewelry, contributed by offering complementary virtual hair tutorials, as well as jewelry packages complete with earrings, rings and bracelets.
“I’m so incredibly thankful and grateful for that, having so many people support us during this time, so many big companies. I’m grateful,” Hannah Lucas said.
“Just being able to help those teenagers, it’s a dream come true. I am still on a high,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the Lucas siblings have been recognized for their innovation in helping young people deal with mental health issues. The two students were featured in The Root’s “Young Futurists 2020” list after they developed the notOK app, which provides young people with a way to reach out when they need help during a mental health crisis.
In an interview with Fox 5, Hannah—who was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a condition that affects blood circulation—spoke about her own struggles with her mental and physical health, which inspired her and her brother to get involved with the notOK app as well as the “We Are Well Prom.”
“I struggled with an eating disorder, self-harm—then one night, I had a suicide attempt,” Hannah said.
Hannah said she and Charlie hosted the virtual prom for students “to really let them know that they are not alone. It’s OK. I feel you. I am you, and we are going to get through it, stronger than ever.”