MOUNT VERNON -- Looking at the elegant dress hanging in the bedroom became too frustrating. It had to be moved out of sight.

Wearing the dress was supposed to be the payoff for months of penny-pinching and mowing lawns. It was meant to be worn one night, but that dress came with a lifetime of memories packed into that one night.

Reagan Klooz yearned to wear that dress, and even though she had attended the prom during her first three years at Mount Vernon High School, there is something special about a senior prom that cannot be replicated. The last chance to create special moments with friends before venturing into the uncertainty of adulthood.

There have been countless moments snatched away from high school seniors through fear of the coronavirus pandemic, but the prom is supposed to be the final safe haven. It is one final night where kids can remain nestled in a bubble, away from the trepidation and unknown that lies ahead.

“I’m in some sports and not everyone is included, but with prom, everyone went,” Klooz said. “Everyone had something to do and these were just memories that would have been made that I’ll never get to make.”

Memories shaped Klooz’s view of the prom and built the anticipation of what was to be her final prom. Recollections of the first prom she attended as a freshman, particularly seeing the Mount Vernon gymnasium adorned in decorations led to her joining the prom committee last year as a junior to help make the experience as special for classmates.

Klooz has certainly had her share of special experiences throughout high school, competing in volleyball, basketball and golf, along with selections to National Honor Society, serving as the vice president of the student council and earning high enough marks to become the class salutatorian.

Moments developed through those activities, coupled with missing out on her final prom have hardened Klooz and made her reshape her view on life as she moves off to the University of South Dakota in pursuit of becoming a physician’s assistant.

“I think it’ll impact how I take things for granted sometimes,” Klooz said. “I was excited for prom and ready for it, but now I think it’ll affect my future plans and what I’m going to look forward to. (Prom) was something I was excited for and now we’re not going to have it, so in the future I’ll try to cherish the things I get to do more.”

Mount Vernon senior Reagan Klooz. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Mount Vernon senior Reagan Klooz. (Matt Gade / Republic)

No plans have been announced for Mount Vernon to host a prom, although there was a brief discussion of having prom-goers parade down Main Street. While it would have been a nice gesture, Klooz feels it simply would not be a fair substitute.

“There’s a lot that goes into the prom setup from doing it last year -- making everything look elegant and exciting,” Klooz said. “I think walking down Main Street is a lot different than walking down the prom aisle with everything set up.”