Parkland Students Celebrate Prom Less than 3 Months After Massacre Took 17 Classmates From Them

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students gather ahead of their prom. (Josh Ritchie / for NBC News)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students gather ahead of their prom. (Josh Ritchie / for NBC News)

Sunshine poured through vaulted windows at the MiraLago at Parkland clubhouse, where 17-year-old Anisha Saripalli sat with her eyes closed as a makeup artist pressed strips of false lashes against her glitter-dusted eyelids.

As Vance Joy’s “Riptide” played on a loudspeaker, dozens of volunteers teased hair and applied blush to more than 150 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Saturday afternoon, hours ahead of their senior prom.

Saripalli glimpsed her new look through her iPhone camera and let out a squeal of excitement.

But like so many other moments over the past few months, her thoughts quickly returned to the one person she wanted to share this with the most.

Carmen Schentrup, Saripalli’s best friend, the one who laughed with her over inside jokes about Harry Potter, who had skipped a grade and hoped to become a medical researcher, died in the Valentine’s Day school shooting that killed 17 people and tore a hole through the South Florida community.

“Just seeing everyone here and not seeing Carmen is sad,” Saripalli said. “She was the most excited to go to prom.”

From the outside, the students’ preparations for prom may have looked normal. And though that’s what many Stoneman Douglas seniors hoped for, they all felt the absence of the four seniors killed before they could share this teenage milestone.

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SOURCE: Kalhan Rosenblatt 
NBC News