‘Pride Prom’ welcomes DC-area high school students

WTOP is marking Pride Month by showcasing the people, places and important issues in the LGBTQ+ communities in the D.C. area. Check back all throughout June as we share these stories, on air and online.

At Pride Prom, you can be who you are

High school students from all around the D.C. area kicked off Pride Month Friday by putting on their dancing shoes and heading to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, for Safe Space NOVA’s Pride Prom.

This is the second year in a row that the Torpedo Factory Art Center has been home to the Pride Prom, according to Amy Cannava, Safe Space NOVA’s program manager. The school psychologist who has helped plan six Pride Prom events said even with discounts, it costs between $10,000 and $15,000 to put on the event.

“It’s like putting on a wedding each year and going home single,” Cannava said. “I hear those voices and I hear from them year after year how much it meant, and then it’s all worth it.”

Fairfax high school student Satchel Blocker attended the Pride Prom for the first time with friends. They took a break from the dance floor and told WTOP what made this prom special.

“At Pride Prom, you can be who you are and date who you want,” Blocker said. “This place is more accepting than at a regular prom.”

For the second year, Kingswell McLean and their brother came from Cheverly, Maryland, to Alexandria to have fun at the prom.

McLean said they feel lucky to be there: “There’re a lot of individuals that don’t get to be themselves freely in their schools and have the opportunity to be in an accepting environment.”

D.C. area high school students packed Alexandria, Virginia's Torpedo Factory Art Center for Safespace NOVA’s Pride Prom on June 1, 2024.
D.C. area high school students packed Alexandria, Virginia’s Torpedo Factory Art Center for Safe Space NOVA’s Pride Prom on June 1, 2024. (WTOP/Jimmy Alexander)

Ethan Siegrist is an executive director with NOVA Pride.

“They are able to be their true selves without having the fear of being judged by their peers at a typical high school prom,” Siegrist said.

Siegrist, a private school Spanish teacher, performed at the prom in their drag persona “Evita Peroxide.”

Kat Beatty, a student at West Potomac High School and the daughter of a colonel in the Marines, said her father loved that she was going to the prom.

“He is someone that does not have a lot of emotion. He almost cried when he saw me in this (prom gown) because I looked so happy,” said Beatty.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Jimmy Alexander

Jimmy Alexander has been a part of the D.C. media scene as a reporter for DC News Now and a long-standing voice on the Jack Diamond Morning Show. Now, Alexander brings those years spent interviewing newsmakers like President Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney and Sean Connery, to the WTOP Newsroom.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up