HOUSTON — Prom is a pivotal part of every high school senior's final year. A four-year build up that ends in pictures, dancing and a memorable send off into the real world.
"It's really big," Genna Montalbano said. "We get to look for dresses. We look forward to it all year. We all talk about it, where it's going to be, when it's going to be and who are you taking."
But for the class of 2020, it's very different: COVID-19 is putting an end to all of it. St. Thomas High School cancelled their prom. It was supposed to be last weekend at Rockefellers, a live music venue off Washington Ave.
"It's like they're on restriction for something they didn't do," said Karen Vine Fuller.
So Karen came up with a Plan B. She organized a virtual prom on Zoom for her son Thomas and his closest friends.
"People started coming in, and we would all talk," said Thomas Fuller.
"I wasn't expecting anything," said Montalbano. "I was just glad to be on the call to talk to people."
But then something happened.
"A blank screen joined in and it said Alex Bregman. And at first I thought it was someone kidding around just giving themselves a celebrity name, kidding around," said Thomas.
"Then his face (Bregman) popped up on my screen, and I was in shock," said Montalbano. "I'm a huge Astros fan."
Bregman and Lance McCullers popped in on prom. The reactions were priceless.
"My reaction was shaking," said Montalbano. "I could barely get a word out."
Two of the Astros biggest stars talked quarantine life, video games and managed to cheer up a senior class.
"It meant a lot," said Thomas. "It made me feel better about our situation and this is something I will remember for a long time."
The whole thing lasted less than 10 minutes but made for some unforgettable prom night photos.
"It made our quarantine," said Montalbano. "It made it so much better knowing they're in it, too. You lose sight of that. They're being affected too."
It's yet another reminder that we are all in this together.