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Hamilton Heights students head off to prom once again

A month after a prom night crash claimed the lives of two teenagers, students at Hamilton Heights got a second chance to gather and remember.

ARCADIA, Ind. — A little more than a month after tragedy shook their school, Hamilton Heights High School students headed to the prom.

Their original prom was canceled when two teenagers, Hamilton Heights senior Kalen Hart and her date, Lendon Byram, a junior at Cathedral High School, died in a crash just hours before the dance May 1. 

The community rallied to reschedule the event for Thursday, June 3.

Senior Cacy Weaver was excited to get ready for her first prom. She still had the dress she planned to wear to the 2020 prom, which was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic, only to see her senior prom postponed due to the tragedy. 

"I was OK with the fact that it wouldn't happen, because there was just so much going on in our community. But when they said it was going to happen, I know it made a lot of people happy that we could just be together and remember her," Weaver said.

Maple Lane Pavilion in Arcadia hosted the rescheduled prom at no charge. Others also stepped up to provide free services to make sure students still got to go to the prom.

Credit: Jody Conaway

Louie's Tux Shop provided free tux rentals for more than 60 students. Instructors from the J. Everett Light Academy of Beauty spent the afternoon doing hair in the school's media center for about 20 girls headed to prom.

"It's not always just about looking pretty. It's about how it makes you feel. So it's just nice to be part of something nice like this that we can help alleviate the pain of the situation as much as we can," said J. Everett Light Career Center cosmetology instructor Amy Sabka.

RELATED: Hamilton Heights to hold prom thanks to generosity of community after deadly crash

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"I've talked to a few of her friends who were debating on going and I just feel like you should go to celebrate. You don't necessarily have to dance and party up, but just go and be there for one another," said Hamilton Heights junior Jacquelyn Jacobs.

Weaver's date, fellow senior Donovan Trew, said he's graduating high school with a new perspective.

"Know that you might not be here tomorrow and to hold your loved ones tight and just be grateful for the life you have," he said.

Thursday, the students were grateful for a night to celebrate and remember.

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