LOS LUNAS — On the night that would’ve been Los Lunas High School’s prom, a local family decided to throw their own prom for their son and his girlfriend.

Christine and Jacob Ward organized a surprise prom for their son, Joshua Ward, and his girlfriend, Ramey Hassell.

Christine said the idea came to her when her family was watching the movie “Contagion.”

“In the movie, that’s what the main character did for his daughter — he threw her a senior prom in their living room,” Christine said. “I told my husband that was such a good idea and we should think about doing something like that.”

That night, she reached out to family friend, Eddie Jaramillo, to ask him if they could use his equipment for their idea.

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Ramey Hassell and Joshua Ward celebrated their senior prom on the same night the Los Lunas High School prom was supposed to be before the stay-at-home order took affect. 

“With COVID-19, the kids are limited to what they can do,” Jacob said. “We talked to Eddie and decided we’re not going to let this keep us from bringing our kids the happiness that they deserve.”

Jaramillo has been deejaying for 25 years, and currently deejays with Albuquerque Productions.

“Jacob and Christine had told me about it and I thought it was amazing what they were doing for their kid,” Jaramillo said. “I told them I’d be honored to do it as long as we followed the proper protocol.”

Both of Josh’s parents work in the medical field — Jacob as a firefighter/EMT and Christine as a nurse — so they made the intimate event as safe as they could.

“It was just our family. Joshua and Ramey are inseparable and so she’s become a part of our family,” Jacob said. “Eddie took precautions and set up in the corner and wore a mask. We tried to take the best measures as possible.

“It was a pretty emotional thing. We planned it just for them, but to make it a little more special we all jumped in. We all had a good time as if it was an actual prom.”

Christine decorated using Class of 2020 decorations and Los Lunas High School colors.

“We wanted it to be a surprise for both of them, so I told them both we were taking family pictures that day,” Christine said. “I contacted Ramey’s dad and asked if he would be able to make them dinner that night so they’d be out of the house and I could decorate.”

In order to keep the surprise and give the Wards time to get their house ready, Ramey’s father prepared them dinner and kept them at his house until it was time for the couple to go to the Ward house.

“I kind of knew there was something going on that day but didn’t know what,” Joshua said.

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Christine and Jacob Ward, far left and right, organized a surprise prom for their son, Joshua Ward, and his girlfriend, Ramey Hassell, who were under the impression they were taking family photos that day.

Both seniors confirmed they were surprised when they came back from dinner and found Joshua’s house decorated for a dance.

“We walk in and saw the decorations,” Hassell said. “There’s disco lights on, there’s a deejay and he’s announcing our names, and I just started crying. It was just so special that they had put a prom together for us knowing that our senior prom wasn’t going to happen.”

Christine said both seniors had some difficult times this year and hoped this would be a pleasant memory for both.

“We wanted to make it special for her because her mom is deployed overseas and she won’t be back until June or July,” Christine said. “We’ve taken Ramey under our wing and tried to make the best of her senior year.

“Right before everything shut down, Joshua and Ramey had told us they wanted to run for prom king and queen. They never even got to campaign, so we got them crowns and announced them as king and queen that night.”

Like many high school athletes, Joshua didn’t get to participate in the sport he was involved in for very long.

“He didn’t get to play his senior year of baseball, and was looking at trying to get a scholarship for it, which has kind of taken the back road since this all happened,” Christine said. “He’s been upset about a lot of things that have happened but I told him hard times only make you appreciate the good things more.”

The couple was touched by the gesture and agreed it was a night to remember.

“This meant a lot,” Joshua said. “Just to be able to hold on to that memory of our last prom was really special.”

Staff Writer

Anna Padilla is a native of Los Lunas, and is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. She began her journalism career with the VCNB in May 2019. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.

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