Vale flower shop and photo studio put on free prom event – pandemic style

Sarah Rodriguez, owner of Luzetta’s Flowers in Vale, is co-sponsoring an event to help high school seniors who are missing out on a traditional prom. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

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VALE – Sarah Rodriguez still remembers her own prom at Vale High School. The theme was “Welcome to the Jungle.” 

Rodriguez wanted to help give this year’s juniors and seniors similar memories despite the pandemic. So she teamed up with April Johnson of Red Barn Photography to put together a free digital portrait session Saturday, April 18.

From noon to 4 p.m. 11th and 12th graders can show up fully dressed for prom in front of the Vale flower shop at 168 A Street East to pick out a flower and pose for one photo.

April Johnson, owner of Red Barn Photography in Vale, will make the digital prints available online. 

“This gives them a little something to hopefully have a memory of some sort,” Rodriguez said as she assembled a bouquet Wednesday morning. 

Students are encouraged to come in full dress and makeup.

“Senior year in high school is such a rite of passage, and our seniors just got the short end of the stick on that,” Johnson wrote in an email. “So I wanted to do this to show them that I think they are amazing, and that they are ready to go out in the world as adults.”

Johnson said all the photos she takes will be put in a gallery on her website so the student can download the full resolution image, and so that all the kids can see each other. 

To adhere to social distancing guidelines, couple photos won’t be taken. Markings on the floor will help ensure that people keep their distance. 

Instead of corsages, students will be able to pick a flower from a basket. 

Springtime is a big deal at Luzetta’s. In a normal year Rodriguez would be working on orders for prom week. 

This year, with state guidance effectively canceling traditional celebrations, things are different at her shop. 

“I’m bummed because I don’t get to do corsages and I like to see the pictures of the kids all gussied up,” she said. “If I’m missing that then so are these kids.”

Rodriguez plans to have about 150 flowers. While the event is intended for Vale juniors and seniors, she said they won’t turn away students from other towns who wish to participate. 

The effort has already gotten some attention. An anonymous donor contributed money that will pay for $20 gift cards to local businesses. Students who come in for a photo that day can enter to win a gift card. 

“I really hope they take advantage of this to create a memory for themselves,” Rodriguez said. 

Yadira Lopez: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.


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