Kerry Page, the mother of a high school senior, got emotional last weekend. It wasn’t because of what her son lost. It was because of what he was given — a “barn prom for two.”
Kerry’s son, Dakota Page, is a senior at Sequoyah High School in Claremore. Dakota left school March 13 with the intent of enjoying spring break and returning to school a week later to wrap up the final chapter — the best chapter — of his senior year.
But seniors everywhere were robbed of once-in-a-lifetime moments by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their final sporting events were canceled. Their proms were scrapped. They may not get to wear caps and gowns in front of friends and family members at a commencement ceremony.
A few weeks ago, Dakota came home from fishing and said he had an idea. He asked if he and Chloe Zickefoose (a senior at Claremore High School) could have a special night to celebrate a prom of their own.
“I thought it was a great idea, but wanted to quarantine a little longer — just to make sure everyone would be safe,” Kerry said.
Dakota got the green light in mid-April and invited Chloe to a “barn prom for two.”
Kerry said Debby and Scott Moore, who own Moore’s Flying M Ranch & Event Center near Inola, loved the “barn prom for two” idea when it was pitched to them, so their ranch became the prom-for-two site.
Kerry said the plan was hatched and executed in a 24-hour period. Among obstacles: Dressing for the occasion. Chloe had a prom dress, but Dakota did not purchase a suit or a tux earlier this semester because he is 6-foot-6 and still growing. Kerry phoned a couple of friends in hopes they could loan her son formal wear for the big day.
“We were in luck,” she said. “They both said that they each had a tux for Dakota to wear. So we got moving, picked up both and ended up having to mix and match because of his height.”
Hoping to duplicate the prom experience, Kerry and husband Jon created homemade signs and made arrangements for balloons, flowers and a selfie station. Chloe’s parents provided snacks, drinks and dinner.
“And the most important thing was the playlist for a night to remember,” Kerry said. “We ‘blinged up’ a couple of protective masks and their homecoming king and queen sashes. The homemade prom was ready!”
Mom doubled as the prom photographer.
“I had tears in my eyes the entire evening, along with a smile on my face, with almost every picture I took,” she said. “It was just so incredibly special seeing Dakota smile after so many weeks of uncertainty and confusion.”
Kerry expressed her appreciation for the ranch owners, saying the “amazing evening” could not have happened without them. Dakota said he couldn’t remember smiling so much and finally feeling happy again. Because of current events, he may have forfeited cherished senior memories. But the “barn prom for two” provided a moment in time he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
There’s another element to the story. Dakota’s sister, Avery, died in August 2016. She was 15.
“She and Dakota were the best of friends,” Kerry said. “At the end of the (barn prom) ‘photo session’ and just before the dancing was to begin, God provided us with the most beautiful sunset, full of color and grace. Avery was there with us.”
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