Michelle Obama will not let a pandemic break her promise. On Friday, When We All Vote, the voting organization founded by the former first lady, announced that it had selected 20 winners for the 2020 Prom Challenge, launched in partnership with MTV, to receive a virtual prom.

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The news was announced on a Zoom call with a representative from each of the schools, and Mrs. Obama made a surprise appearance to disclose the exciting update. “I’m just blown away by your commitment and your focus,” the former first lady told the students. “I want you to know that you all are winners.”

Winners of the When We All Vote x MTV Prom Challenge were assembled on a call where Michelle Obama announced the news of a virtual prom

In January ESSENCE reported that My School Votes, the national high school program under When We All Vote had teamed up with MTV’s +1thevote and additional brand partners to give students an opportunity to win $5,000. Twenty high schools would be chosen to receive the prize money which could then be used toward their prom or to invest in voter registration. And then the pandemic happened.

“I know this has been a tough time for you guys and I know you’re feeling a lot of stress right now,” Obama acknowledged before adding how proud she was of their commitment to service and their dedication to bettering their communities. 

Michelle Obama announces virtual prom for 20 schools
LAS VEGAS – SEPTEMBER 23: Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during a rally for When We All Vote’s National Week of Action at Chaparral High School on September 23, 2018, in Las Vegas. Obama is the founder and a cochairwoman of the organization that aims to help people register and to vote. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

According to a press release, Compton Early College High School located in Compton, California, was selected for preregistering and registering to vote nearly 100 percent of its high school seniors. Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C., made registering to vote a part of school spirit and registered 100 percent of the senior class. Communication and Media Arts High School in Detroit created a voting squad and hosted two days of action that led to 99 percent of eligible students registering to vote.

“The future of your communities and our countries are in the hands of young people like you all,” Obama said on the virtual call. “No pressure but we’re counting on you.”

The When We All Vote and MTV virtual Prom-athon will be held on Friday, May 22, 2020.

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