When We All Vote, a national nonpartisan voter registration organization, has announced that 20 high schools, including WS/FCS high schools R.J. Reynolds and John F. Kennedy, have won the 2020 Prom Challenge and a national virtual prom, in partnership with MTV. Winners also receive $5,000 to spend on other community and/or school civic projects.
During a Zoom meeting Friday, Co-Chair Michelle Obama surprised members of the Class of 2020 to share that they won the challenge, and that When We All Vote and MTV would partner to host a Prom-a-thon on Friday May 22, 2020. Due to Covid-19 and the cancellation of proms around the nation, this virtual event will celebrate the Class of 2020 and shine a light on the high schools and students who organized the most creative nonpartisan voter registration efforts in the country.
Organizers say both Kennedy and Reynolds had impressive student involvement and student leadership. Both schools outlined unique student led opportunities for student government and other student organizations to encourage students to register to vote.
Kennedy High School was recognized for creating a culture around voting in their school by promoting voter registration during open houses, student conferences and other school-wide events. Reynolds High School started having conversations as a school community about voting, and student leaders worked to get nearly 100 students registered to vote.
Kennedy student Mirtha Medel-Crispin, who was on the surprise call announcing winners said, “I was very excited to be on the call. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Mrs. Obama joined it. I’m very thankful to have been chosen for the call.”
Reynolds student Zoe Brockenbrough said, “More than ever, civic engagement is something that everyone, especially young people, need to participate in. Our goal was to create a culture at our school where students actively wanted to be involved in the political process and voting, so that they can truly have their voices heard.”
The Prom-a-thon will kick off Friday, May 22, 2020, with an all-day on-air takeover on MTV featuring prom-themed throwback movies and short-form original content highlighting the winning schools and students. Following the takeover is the virtual prom party, which will live stream digitally at 9pm ET on MTV’s YouTube. Surprise celebrity guest appearances and live performances from some of the world’s biggest artists will make the special night unforgettable. Students from any high school can take part. When We All Vote’s My School Votes program and MTV launched the 2020 Prom Challenge in January as a grant competition to challenge and recognize high schools that committed to boosting voter registration in their communities. More than 150 schools from 37 states entered the contest.
A clip of the surprise call with winners was aired on NBC’s Today, Friday, May 15. Students from Reynolds and Kennedy were on the call, the clip can be seen here.