Poignancy and pomp at Kennedy's last prom


Destiny Burgos, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School (JFK), sat under a hair dryer at Jackie’s Hair Salon on Westchester Avenue with a towel around her shoulders and rollers in her hair the afternoon before prom.

“I wanted to go for a Hollywood kind of look — it’s really simple, but really classy,” the 17-year-old said on May 30.

She gazed at a picture of a floor-length black dress with a sweetheart neckline and a beaded bodice while waiting for her hair to set. She opted for vintage curls to complement her gown.

JFK’s last prom was just hours away. It would be a bittersweet evening for Destiny, whose older sister attended Kennedy before her.

“I can’t go back to school five years from now and see my old teachers,” she reflected.

Queen Contender

The south Bronx resident embraced prom to the full. In the final weeks of the school year, she was in the running to be prom queen — a quintessential teenage experience, she felt.

“To just experience it, the campaigning and the competition — it seemed really fun,” Destiny said.

She handed out king-size candy bars emblazoned with her name during her campaign. The two other girls in the running retaliated with baked goods.

“I wanted to win,” Destiny explained with a laugh. “I was going all out.”

While she initially struggled at JFK — overwhelmed by the campus, which houses seven schools, and struggling academically — she has turned around her high school career. Destiny joined Principal Luft’s leadership class and became president of the school’s environmental club.

As part of the last class at Kennedy, she said she and her classmates have grown close.

“I know every single person,” she said. “We kind of grew together as a family.”


As Destiny sat in the salon chair, her hairdresser Joshua Laureano joked, “I’ve got a celebrity client right now.”

He took the final hairpins out just after 8 p.m. The student didn’t waste a moment paying her bill and dashing to meet her date Andrew Morris, a JFK grad, who was scheduled to pick her up in a limousine.

Page 1 / 3