By Tiffany Chan

BOSTON (CBS) – Yellow school buses replaced stretch limousines as the North Andover High School seniors made their way to prom in Boston. Like much of the school year, this event was a bit different.

“I feel like it’s weird on a boat, but to be honest – I kind of like it because it’s on the water,” said NAHS senior Clay Ursu.

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You can’t see their smiles underneath the face masks, but you can hear the excitement in their voices.

“It’s honestly really nice,” said NAHS senior Norah Rivers. “Before graduation, you want to see everyone because it’s been a year. It’s been really hard.”

It was particularly difficult for the class of 2021 that had their junior prom wiped out by COVID-19. The year before that, EEE jeopardized their fall sports.

Prom almost didn’t happen this year, but along came the vaccine. The North Andover school district organized a vaccination clinic on campus to encourage more students to roll up their sleeves – not only for their health, but so they can enjoy some of their senior activities.

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“I believe it was 71% of our seniors as of Monday have been vaccinated and our town numbers have been great,” said Principal Chet Jackson.

Principal Jackson said a dinner cruise on the Boston Harbor was the best bet to allow open air to filter through the ship. Along with boutonnières, students were required to wear a facemask on board except when eating.

“It’s not as big of deal to me anymore. I would like to not wear the masks at some point,” Rivers told WBZ-TV.”

Between hybrid learning and social distancing, this was one of the first times the senior class has felt one of the many joys of high school before graduating.

“I’m glad we get the opportunity to go to prom. It’s a big influential moment in our high school career,” said one student.

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Principal Jackson added that they moved prom up to May 21 to give students at least two weeks to quarantine before graduation.

Tiffany Chan