A senior at Belle Vernon Area High School is hoping to get the attention of Gov. Tom Wolf with an online petition to save school proms and graduations across the state.

Natalie French, 18, of Belle Vernon said officials in her school district have been doing all they can to have both this year’s prom and graduation, postponing both until mid summer or further on, if necessary.

However, nobody seems to know if or when the state will give school districts the green light to hold the traditional functions to which senior students most look forward.

“My friends and I were disappointed that all of our senior activities were taken away, and the last three months are supposed to be the most fun,” French said.

She said she made the petition in an effort to push for a more traditional graduation instead of a virtual one, and to urge officials to look for a way to hold a typical prom.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Change.org petition had 1,786 signatures. While French said she didn’t have a set goal for signatures, she said she’s going to wait for more people to sign before sending it to Harrisburg.

“My goal is to get the governor’s attention and hope he’ll let the school districts decide how to handle the events,” French said, adding the petition has gained a lot of support from her friends and others online.

There have also been some negative comments about potential health risks of holding in-person events. That hasn’t deterred French.

“I’m fine with those comments, but I just have to stand up for what I believe,” she said.

French said she actually wrote the petition a week prior to publishing it May 12, but held off because she’d never done anything like that before.

“I just believed in it, so I did it,” she said.

While she’s not certain if the petition will get the governor’s attention, French also plans on sending it to state lawmakers, hoping they may be able to do intervene.

“I’m glad I did it,” French said.

“Whatever the turnout is in the end, I guess I tried and didn’t sit around and do nothing.”

To see or sign French’s petition, visit www.change.org and search for “Pennsylvania High School Graduation and Prom Must Go On.”

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