Four Florida high school seniors slain in a mass shooting were honored by their classmates celebrating their senior prom.
The main ballroom at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort was transformed Saturday into an enchanted forest for 850 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students.
A giant ice sculpture stood in the hallway, proclaiming, "#MSDSTRONG.” Butterflies were released from the rooftop, and a room was set aside for anyone needing quiet reflection.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies also stood guard at the front entrance.
“The senior class is going to be missing some of its members — we don’t forget that, none of us,” said senior Rebecca Schneid, who dressed in a black gown for the event.
The Parkland school had considered canceling the prom after the Feb. 14 massacre that killed 17 students and faculty, but local businesses donated items and services, helping to reduce the event’s costs and ticket prices.
The victims included four seniors: Meadow Pollack, Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver and Carmen Schentrup.
One of Pollack’s closest friends, Carley Ogozaly, wore a pink tulle gown with a halter neckline and an open back in the slain teen’s honor. She also got a pearly pink French manicure for the occasion.
The girls had discussed shopping for their prom dresses in the hours before the shooting, she said.
“I would have just worn a simple black dress. But I know Meadow would have argued with me that it would be too plain,” Ogozaly said. “Me wearing this pink sparkly thing and me doing my nails the way Meadow would have is my way of making sure Meadow doesn’t miss prom.”
Ogozaly and another friend, Nicolette Miciotta, also drew Pollack’s name under a small crown on their left shoulders. On Miciotta’s wrist were pink bangle bracelets with “Princess Meadow” written across them.
Pollack’s father came to see the girls off in their magenta limousine. The windows were covered in fuchsia paint with the words, “We love you Meadow.”
“I could barely get myself to come here,” Andrew Pollack said. “I’m here, though.”