collage of three photos of Penny ready for senior prom and standing in front of a flowering bush: one is with Peter, one by herself, and one with Amy Julia

Penny in Her Own Words: Senior Prom

We’ve been talking about senior prom all year long, and I wasn’t sure whether the event itself would be a letdown after so much anticipation. But here’s what Penny, our 18-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, had to say about the evening:

What was one memorable moment from prom this year?

One memorable moment from prom this year was taking a picture with a particular friend.

Was there anything that felt disappointing?

That we almost missed the whole group picture

How was the evening structured?

First, Mom dried my hair, and did my hair half-up half-down. Then we moved on to makeup. We used concealer, blush, highlighter, foundation, and lip gloss. Then I got changed into my dress. Dad got home in time for pictures out in the backyard. Then mom drove me to school where we took more photos with Marie, Freddie, Jake, Liam, Mikey, Julia and Lindsay, Ona, and Lily. And also a whole group shot. Then we loaded the buses by table and went to the Amber Room.

I know you’ve been thinking about event planning a lot this year—what worked well for this event? Is there anything you would have done differently?

I liked the venue. I liked how it was both available inside and outside. A buffet dinner is always a good idea for a prom. The photo booth was a hit, and also the dessert bar. I would have changed the music to songs that we all know. And, the decorations were very similar to last year, so I would have put more flowers and less rustic.

How much did you interact with friends at prom? Was it ever tricky to figure out who to sit with or who to dance with?

I would say there were some good interactions with friends but could have been more. Well, we had to sit by table, so that part was easy. Dancing was a little harder, but not as much because I knew who I wanted to dance with.

I know it was so exciting to find your shoes and dress—you looked so beautiful! How did it feel to be all dressed up for prom?

It felt amazing, considering that it was my last prom of high school. I won’t tell the whole story here, but some friends who live in Atlanta, Georgia, took me prom dress shopping, and we successfully found the dress.

Is there any advice you would give to someone younger who is getting ready for prom?

Savor every moment. You may think heels are the right idea, but, trust me, bring other shoes with you. Your feet will hurt if you wear the heels all night.


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