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Centre Wellington grads to still get a snapshot of the prom experience

Elora photographer Sophie Hogan wants to safely help students document an important time in their lives

CENTRE WELLINGTON – Centre Wellington District High School grads in Fergus can get a small taste of the prom that didn't happen with a project from local photographers. 

Elora photographer Sophie Hogan wanted to give students a chance to document this moment in their lives after reminiscing over old photos she found. 

“I thought it would give them a moment to document what they would have worn and what they look like at this age,” Hogan said.

Hogan said she wanted to spread joy and give the students a chance to dress up. She said a lot of girls get their dresses in March and wouldn’t have gotten a chance to wear them because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Students who sign up can have their photo taken in their prom gear at the Elora Centre for the Arts on May 23. They are encouraged to make a $25 donation, which is going to the Kid’s Help Line, if they are able to. 

Hogan was able to rally three other photographers, Dan Dunlop, Wayne Simpson and Trina Koster, who are donating their time to this project. 

Hogan stressed that physical distancing will be practiced, students will come in by appointment only with each shooting bay being around 50 feet apart. 

“There’s a local business who is making handmade masks for the volunteers and Elora Distillery is providing hand sanitizer for each shooting bay,” Hogan said and noted students will be asked not to hang around afterwards. 

To help with logistics and connecting with students, Hogan enlisted the help of teacher and county councillor Diane Ballantyne. 

Ballantyne said as someone who has taught senior students for a long time, she knew losing the last semester of high school was a big loss. 

“I thought it was a really nice idea to give to some of those kids who were looking forward to prom,” Ballantyne said. 

Although a teacher, Ballantyne said this is not a school or board project, she’s doing this as a community member. 

“We can use all the joy we can get during this time of history,” Ballantyne said. 

CWDHS students can sign-up and download their release forms at the facebook page CW 2020 Prom Photo Project. 

After the day of photos, Hogan said two local businesses have offered to make banners that will be hung in the local community to celebrate the students’ achievement. The photos will show the pictures together to show a sense of community. 

“I think that part is very important as well for you to look at yourself inside of a group,” Hogan said. “You’re a collection of people who have all worked towards something.”