Because of the coronavirus pandemic, most high schools had to cancel proms and in-person graduation ceremonies last year. But this year, prom is back, with a twist, in some Chicago-area school districts.
For West Aurora High School students, the location of Saturday's prom might be unique, but it's not taking away from the excitement and anticipation. Prom will take place at Aurora's Fox Valley Mall in order to promote social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions.
"I'm just really excited, especially compared to other friends at other schools, some of them aren’t getting proms," said Joey Garcia, a senior at West Aurora.
West Aurora isn't the only local school getting creative with its prom planning. Lake Forest High Schools will host prom on its front lawn next week, while Noble Charter Schools is taking over Soldier Field.
Students who talked to NBC 5 said they're just thankful for the chance - one they're not taking for granted.
"I feel like we've lost a lot already, and to be able to have something like this is really exciting. Regardless of if it is at a mall or not," said senior Grace Bernal.
While not every school will have a prom due to COVID-19 concerns, West Aurora administrators said they really wanted to help students end the tough year on a positive note.