At “Mom Prom,” the North Salem community will come together to take care of its own

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Tonight, after North Salem High School’s seniors head off to prom at Salem Golf Club, a group of moms of those seniors will gather at The Creek in Croton Falls for their own bittersweet celebration. “Mom Prom,” as the organizers are calling it, will be a night to acknowledge all that this past year has entailed and to celebrate what North Salem’s senior class has accomplished despite it all. Most significantly, the event will raise funds to help support one senior family whose lives were devastated by the pandemic.

Stacie Vourakis-Junghans, a North Salem mom, lost her life to COVID-19 on May 4, 2020. 

Vourakis-Junghans left behind her husband of almost 25 years, Mike Junghans, and the couple’s twins, Henry and Dagny, who will graduate from North Salem High School this month.

Maryanne D’Amato, one of the Mom Prom organizers, said the idea for the event came about in a group text, as she and several other senior moms were chatting about organizing their own playful spin on prom after the year everyone has been through.

“I thought about Stacie and I thought, one of us won’t be there. This is a community where we raise our children together,” D’Amato said. “I personally lost my mom as a kid. So it hit me. I said, let’s see if we can raise some money to give to [Stacie’s] kids. Just to give them something they can take to school. It’s a mom scholarship.”

Henry, 17, will attend Michigan State University this fall, while twin sister Dagny will head to Ringling College of Art + Design in Florida. Mike Junghans said that seeing his kids moving through these milestones – prom, graduation, and soon, to college – has helped him cope with the grief of losing his wife.

“They’ve had their good days and their bad days,” Junghans said. “They’re looking forward and I think that’s a good thing.”

Melissa Reiss, whose daughter Krissy was in Girl Scouts with Stacie’s daughter Dagny for many years, said, “Stacie was a kind, warm, genuine person, who was always willing to step in and help out. And she was so funny! She always made me laugh.”

Reiss was recently looking through photos of Krissy’s graduations through elementary and middle school and came across a picture from a luncheon celebration following the Pequenakonck Elementary moving up ceremony. In the picture, several 5th grade girls had their moms’ arms proudly wrapped around them, including Dagny and Stacie.

“She might not be here to wrap her arms around Dagny and Henry in person this time, but I hope that through this little gesture they can feel the collective love of their amazing mom as well as the moms of their classmates,” Reiss said.

The Mom Prom will be held from 8-10 p.m. at The Creek in Croton Falls. Organizers said owner Chris McEntee has been generous in offering up the restaurant’s patio space for attendees. Moms of all North Salem High School seniors are invited, where a cash bar and full menu will be available. Any community member interested in donating can contact Maryanne D’Amato. Contributions will be accepted through Friday, June 18. All donations collected will be gifted to the Junghans twins.

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