FRANKLIN — MVU senior, Catherine Paradis, picked out her prom dress in January, long before COVID-19 upended the lives of high school seniors nationwide.

“I tried on quite a few dresses, ended up choosing the first one I tried on.

“I wanted a full dress with sparkles, and it had pockets. I wanted something poofy and fun for my senior prom.”

Paradis remembered the last day she spent at MVU, a day she and the rest of the students never imagined would be their last on campus.

“Like most people, I didn’t think we were not going to go back, but I remember joking with Ellie Bourdeau and Rachel Fitzsimmons that we might not walk the halls again.”

Seniors all over the country are grappling with the reality that they will never have the experiences most high school students are able to enjoy at the end of their senior year.

“I know our school is trying to do what they can, and our parents are hoping to have a prom for the seniors later when things clear up,” said Paradis.

Paradis and the other seniors in Franklin County won’t be attending the proms they were planning on, but Paradis decided to make the best of the circumstances.

As state recommendations for work and play began to relax, she donned her beautiful dress and enjoyed a quiet dinner and a photo shoot with Nicholas Pond, the young man who would have been her prom date.

Like many seniors who’ve missed out on sports, proms, and the usual senior festivities, Paradis has stayed positive.

“Things haven’t gone as I thought they would, but it was still fun to take photos and have a stay at home dinner,” said Paradis. “I hope I’ll get to have an actual prom at some point, but in the meantime, it was good to enjoy some this.”

Paradis, a two-sport varsity athlete at MVU, played her sports in the fall and winter seasons.

“Our soccer team had the best season we’ve had in a long time! We had a lot of wins, and we upset Stratton in the playoffs. That was a good start to the senior year,” said Paradis.

“In basketball, we had a new coach, Moses Power. He started me off in elementary school, and he was the coach I got to finish my senior season with.

“We didn’t win a lot, but we were in every game, and we never gave up. We made a lot of good memories and played our hearts out.”

While she appreciated the seasons she could play, her heart goes out to her friends who weren’t able to take the field this spring.

“I have so many friends who played softball and ran track and field, and they won’t get the opportunity to compete. It hurt them not to have those times, but they understand why.”

Students are also adjusting to learning at home.

“My physics teacher sent us home with a basket of materials, and we did our experiments at home,” said Paradis.

“I’m a hands-on learner, so I was happy to be able to complete the experiments and see what happened first hand.”

When asked what she thought she’d remember in ten years, Paradis answered thoughtfully and without hesitation.

“We’ve been able to come together as a community--people making masks and donating them to others, people donating food, and the fire departments driving around to cheer up kids on their birthdays,” said Paradis.

“The good things that came out of all of this was that it brought the community together, and it’s given many families more time to spend family time together.”

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