That one word, written on canvas and surrounded by a colorful collage of paint, promised Catherine Maine an experience she missed out on long ago.
Of course she said yes. Her invitation, after all, came from her grandson, 18-year-old Bryce Maine. Bryce, a senior at Eufaula High School in Alabama, wanted his grandmother to finally enjoy the formative soiree she missed so many years ago.
“I just thought, well, it’s just so nice that he wanted me to go,” Catherine Maine told WTVM. “I kept asking him, ‘Don’t you want to take someone else?’ But he kept saying, ‘No, I want my Nanny.’ So I was just so shocked, privileged that he asked me.”
“My Grandma is the most important woman in my life and she’s never had a prom before so I figured why not let her go with me,” Bryce told “Inside Edition.”
As he told CNN, “Every woman deserves to go to a prom, no matter how old you are.”
Catherine Maine prepared for the April 8 event by purchasing a new dress to wear on the special night, as word of her coming attendance trickled out into the small community. Somehow, the school’s administrators got wind of Bryce’s plans — and that’s when they fell apart.
Catherine Maine isn’t allowed to attend.
In a statement to “Inside Edition,” Eufaula City Schools principal Steve Hawkins said the prom attendees must be 20 years old or younger, and he cannot bend the rules. On Monday, Bryce’s father met with school officials seeking a compromise, but nothing changed, reported Fox News’ Todd Starnes.
“Safety of students and staff is the first and most important of the many tasks of a school administrator. For the 10 years I have been high school principal, we have denied requests each year from students asking to bring older dates to prom. We do not chance leaving any stone unturned when it comes to safety. Most high schools have an age limit for prom attendees,” Hawkins said in a statement.
Bryce told WTVM the reason the school gave him was “alcohol … in case, you know, she was trying to distribute it to minors.”
“I’m heartbroken,” Bryce added.
Regardless of the rules, the decision riled many after Sarah Catherine, Bryce’s cousin, posted an angry message about the decision on Facebook.
“My blood is boiling right now,” it began. “My little cousin Bryce wanted to take our Grandma to his senior Prom since she has never been. Well after she … bought her dress and made plans, the principal decided that they cannot do that anymore … Like really? Eufaula High School let my Grandma go to Prom!”
As of early Tuesday morning, four days before the prom, the post was shared more than 4,700 times and included more than a thousand comments.
“It seems the only problem here, is that adults with no lives, no heart, no compassion, or love, deem it necessary to ruin a fantastic gesture of love & ideals!” one commenter wrote Another advocated a boycott of the prom, calling the school “heartless.”
“This country has gone to hell. What a nice young man to have this once in a lifetime experience for the both of them. If my granddaughter did that for me I would be the happiest Pawpa in the world. I laugh at the thought that she might bring alcohol,” another wrote.
In her post, Sarah used the hashtag #letnannygotoprom, which quickly spread to Twitter.
One tweet: “There is no more common sense in our schools. #LetNannyGoToProm”
Another tweet: “#LetNannyGoToProm Oh, no. We can’t. We’ll start a trend of grandsons (and granddaughters) showing kindness towards their grandparents.”
The social media push hasn’t changed anything, but Bryce and Catherine Maine decided to make the night special anyhow, school notwithstanding.
“She’ll wear her gown and I’ll put on my tuxedo and we will get all dressed up, go out to a fancy meal, and have our own prom,” Bryce told CNN.
According to Fox News, that meal will likely be at the Eufaula Country Club, which invited the two to dine on Saturday and maybe take a spin on the dance floor.
“I picked out some of the songs she liked from back in the day — a lot of Elvis,” Bryce said.