Lone Peak High students celebrate prom second week in a row for student with mental illness

Lone Peak High School juniors Tyler Hanks and Audrey Rhodes arrive at Audrey's prom event. (Photo courtesy Midge Rhodes)

Lone Peak High School juniors Tyler Hanks and Audrey Rhodes arrive at Audrey’s prom event. (Photo courtesy Midge Rhodes)

Lone Peak High School students donned gowns and tuxes on April 24 as they celebrated prom at the State Capitol Building. Nothing abnormal.

The out-of-the-ordinary part began the next Friday night when more than 200 students dressed up once again to celebrate prom for a student who had missed out.

Audrey Rhodes, a student who has Aspergers and Schizoaffective disorder, was unable to attend what would have been her junior prom because she has been out of school this year while living in the Utah State Hospital. When Audrey kept mentioning to her mom, Midge Rhodes, that she was upset she was missing prom, Midge contacted Lone Peak about her plans to put together a small event with perhaps three couples, including her daughter.

[pullquote]”I was just so overwhelmed. These kids were the definition of compassion to do this for her and show her that they loved her. I cannot express how we feel today.” —Midge Rhodes[/pullquote]

“When I contacted Lone Peak, they said, ‘You know there are going to be more than three couples who’ll want to participate,’” Midge said.

From there, the Lone Peak Student Council got the word out to students about the second prom on May 1 on Main Street in Alpine. The school’s administration helped to contact Audrey’s friend Tyler Hanks, who she chose as her prom date. Midge’s friends, family and strangers helped organize decorations, food and music to go along with the theme of “under the stars.”

“The right people showed up at the right time all day (Friday) to get this pulled off for her,” Midge said. “I’m still in shock that the whole thing went so well, and that we were able to do it and that it turned into such a great event.”

Since Audrey was in 2nd grade, Midge has made a special effort to help inform Audrey’s classmates about her mental illness — which, at the time, was Aspergers (it was later that Audrey developed Schizoaffective disorder). She also tries to show appreciation to Audrey’s classmates for being friends with her.

“The kids know her and love her, and they all wanted to be a part of this prom,” Midge said.

The theme for Audrey's prom was "night under the stars." More than 200 Lone Peak High School students participated in the second prom. (Photo courtesy Midge Rhodes)

The theme for Audrey’s prom was “night under the stars.” More than 200 Lone Peak High School students participated in the second prom. (Photo courtesy Midge Rhodes)

Audrey, who was named prom queen, thanked the students as they left for making her dreams come true. Midge is positive this is a night Audrey will always remember, especially since the attendees signed stars for Audrey to decorate her room.

“Audrey was so gracious, and it has been a while since I’ve seen her so connected,” Midge said. “I was just so overwhelmed. These kids were the definition of compassion to do this and show her they loved her. I cannot express how we feel today.”

Midge described the students at Lone Peak as great kids.

“People need to see that,” Midge said. “They are so good to each other and support each other.”

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Midge hopes people will become more aware and understanding of illnesses — whether physical or mental.

“Mentally ill kids need to have opportunities like this prom,” Midge said.

Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.


  1. AvatarKay Brown Reply

    While I applaud kids that help others and this is a great story. It makes me cringe a little. My oldest four children attended Lone Peak High School. It is true that most of the kids are individually good kids, as a group they are very judge mental and snobbier than most. They go out of their way when someone is sick, visibly different or publicly in need of help. But, that seems to be to their benefit and to be noticed as being so good. What about smiling at all kids in hallway, asking the weird girl who sits alone at lunch to the dance…and not just the one with Down syndrome. All of my children, and they were athletes or doing other activities and well known, have told me that kids never talk to those outside of their social group. They all have told me lone peak is hard for many reasons: snobby and difficult to be involved in sports because the politics are so blatantly obvious and certain parents have much influence in who gets to do what. My youngest 2 that were going to lone peak and had friends that they love, are now attending another highschool. They are much happier. Kids are generally more friendly and open and less judge mental. They still deal with some of the normal highschool drama, problems and politics, but would not want to go back to lone peak.

    1. Avatardaines Reply

      To Kay brown.
      I can see your frustration on all of the things that you have said. High school is rough kids are judgemental. But there are good things that go on all the time at lone peak. I am currently a senior at lone peak and I have heard it all… why lone peak sucks because kids judge all the time, they are rich snobs etc. Going into lone peak with all of those thoughts really didn’t help at all. My sophomore year was terrible! I felt judged all the time, I wouldn’t talk to kids because I felt like they wouldn’t let me in their groups because of the things I heard about people having “clicks” and not talking to people outside of those. Anyways life moved on and junior year came around and I realized that I was changing how I was acting and thinking to some rumors that I have heard and it wasn’t helping me progress forward. I learned as a kid from my sister that I choose whether to be sad or happy. So… I did I changed the way I was thinking and chose to be happier. When I did this I found myself talking to people that I would think wouldn’t accept me in their group, and became great friends with a lot of people. Then I realized when I thought other people were judging me I was actually judging them and not talking to them, when in reality they are amazingly kind people….. what I’m saying from my personal experience is that people go into lone peak and hear all of this stuff about it and make decisions based on those rumors. If you got to sit down with every kid at lone peak you will find out that almost every single kid that goes there has huge hearts. Some kids don’t show it that we’ll but they are great kids. I am not saying bad things don’t happen because they happen everywhere. I am trying really hard not to say anything mean and approach this with kindness. But everything I heard you say are extremes to rumors that have been said. And you calling the kids that go to lone peak judgmental snobs and all political, is kinda judgmental. I can see why you would bring this up because you have kids that go there and you care about them I understand that and I applaud you for caring about your kids. But my past two years (junior and senior year) I have seen great things that would bring tears to your eyes from the kids at lone peak. All I had to do was change my attitude and I haven’t felt judged (because most of the time I really wasn’t being judged I just thought that I was) since sophomore year, maybe I have been judged a little by someone somewhere but I don’t know if they did and it doesn’t bother me. I’m sorry if any of this offended you, that was not my purpose. I was just saddened to see these things said about my class mates and my close friends, and if this was said to them in front of me in person, I would defend them. So I had to defend them even if it was said online.

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