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High school seniors reboot their prom at nursing home where they work

Allie Jennings and Rachel Leonard were crowned with tiaras by resident Gladys Anderson

PRESCOTT, Wis. — After their prom was cancelled, two high school seniors would not be denied.

Rachel Leonard and Allie Jennings did their hair and makeup, put on their fancy dresses, and held their prom at the nursing home where they work.

“They came to me a little timid actually,” Nikoll Friet, the administrator of the Prescott, Wisconsin nursing home, says. “And I'm like, are you kidding me? Of course, you can do that.”

Rachel and Allie, both 18, work as certified nursing assistants at Prescott Nursing and Rehabilitation Community. Before COVID-19, The 18-year-olds attended Ellsworth High School.  

“We were just kind of talking and we were like, ‘Well, we both still have our prom dresses, we already have them,” Rachel says.

On Friday, the teens drove 20 miles on their day off to dance in the rooms of the residents for whom they care.

“For the residents' point of view, I think it's very hard for them not being able to see your family,” Allie says.

Reminded that they are filling that role, Rachel says, “It's like having a bunch of grandmas and grandpas.”

One of those “grandmas,” Gladys Anderson, held up a sign as the girls entered her room. "In my eyes,” the sign read, “you are so much more than a prom princess, you are a beautiful healthcare hero."

Then, Gladys surprised both girls with tiaras she placed on their heads.

“It was Glady's thing,” Nikoll Friet says. “I just placed the order on Amazon.”

The seniors and the seniors have all known disappointment this spring, yet on Friday they found happiness in each other.

“Senior prom wasn't expecting to be this way, but we'll take it,” Allie says.

“Seniors caring for seniors is how I would describe it,” the nursing home administrator says. “I think it's pretty special.”

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