Life in quarantine has meant canceled plans for many people — and none moreso than high school students, who’ve had to give up in-person classes, extracurricular activities, graduation traditions and all those senior year social gatherings, from homecoming to prom.
But Jenna Bush Hager and Michelle Obama had some good news for students this week — they’re getting their prom after all!
The former first lady is the co-chair of the nonprofit, nonpartisan group When We All Vote, an organization devoted to making sure every American is registered to vote in the fall. This year, When We All Vote teamed up with MTV for a 2020 Prom Challenge event that promised to reward the 20 high schools that launched the most impactful voter registration programs with funding for their proms.
That’s still happening — but the prom is going to look a little different than anyone expected.
Jenna gathered some of the winning students together for a video call and surprised them with her special guest.
“I am so thrilled to meet all of you,” she said to students representing their respective schools. “I wish it could be in person. I know we all wish that was the case. But I love listening to your stories, the dedication you have to our country and making sure that every voice is heard.”
Then she gave them the chance to hear a voice — and see a face — they weren’t expecting.
“Please welcome, Mrs. Obama!”
“I’m just blown away by your commitment and your focus and the level of articulation you’re showing on this issue,” Obama, 56, told the teens. “I know this has been a tough time for you guys. I know you’re feeling a lot of stress right now. Getting used to online classes ... I’ve got young people in my house. My kids have been doing this same thing, but you guys are missing out on a lot of major milestones because of this quarantine.”
And that, she said, just “doesn’t seem fair.”
“So today I wanted to just drop in to share a little of what I hope is good news with all of you,” she added. “We’re coming together to throw you and students across the country a virtual prom, OK?”
And while a virtual prom might not sound quite as sweet as the real deal, Obama assured the students they have something to look forward to.
“This is going to be amazing,” she insisted. “This isn’t just going to be any old prom. We all — at MTV, my team — we called a lot of our friends, and so we’re going to have a lot of special guests and performances and a lot of surprises. So this is going to be off the hook.”
Just like her own prom was back in 1982.
“It might not be what you were envisioning for this special occasion,” she added. “I promise you that it will be a night that you’re going to remember.”
And when it came to the all-important topic of voting, she reminded them that “the future of your communities and our countries are in the hands of young people like you all — no pressure — but we’re counting on you.”
Obama also told them that she’s counting on them to get ready for their prom, which will take place May 22, in style. Everyone can watch the event on MTV's YouTube page.
“I can’t wait to see you at prom,” she said. “I’m going to look cute. I hope you are, too!”