Big night for blind Massachusetts high school teen

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Blind Massachusetts girl gets special prom
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Big night for blind Massachusetts high school teen
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, dances with her friend Maddy Wilson (R) at the Chelsea High School Prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her mother Jennifer (L) pick out a prom dress for Precious at Tammi's Closet in Amesbury, Massachusetts, United States April 17, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, spends time in her bedroom with her cousin Janelly Matos (R) before Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez (R), 18, who has been blind since birth, walks to a hair salon with her mother Jennifer in preparation for her prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 19, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, sits for a pedicure in preparation for her prom at a nail salon in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 19, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, her cousin Janelly Matos (C) and their friend Trista Ward (L) buy candy and snacks at a convenience store before Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez (C), 18, who has been blind since birth, gets her hair done by Yubelquis Beato (2nd R), while her brother J.J. (L) plays a video game and her mother Jennifer (R) looks on, in preparation for Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 19, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, her cousin Janelly Matos (C) and their friend Trista Ward (L) walk home after buying candy and snacks at a convenience store before Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, has her hair done by her aunt Norma Gonzalez (R) as Precious gets dressed for prom at her home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S. May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, gets a kiss from her mother Jennifer at her home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States before going to prom May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, gets her dress and hair adjusted by her aunt Norma Gonzalez (L) and her mother Jennifer (R) as she prepares for her prom at her home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, models the prom dress for her mother Jennifer (L) at Tammi's Closet in Amesbury, Massachusetts, United States April 17, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, talks to her father Jonathan (L) as she prepares for prom at her home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her friend Maddy Wilson (L) walk to a car on their way to Precious' prom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her friend Maddy Wilson (R) arrive for the Chelsea High School prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her friend Maddy Wilson (R) make ice cream sundaes at the Chelsea High School prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, and her friend Maddy Wilson (R) eat ice cream sundaes at the Chelsea High School prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, who has been blind since birth, dances with her friend Maddy Wilson (R) at the Chelsea High School Prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Precious Perez, 18, who has been blind since birth, sits at a table at the Chelsea High School Prom in Boston, Massachusetts, United States May 21, 2016. Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States. Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green colour, but said that didn't limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "PRECIOUS PEREZ" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
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BOSTON, May 25 (Reuters) - Precious Perez slipped into her full-length strapless prom gown and said it made her feel like storybook royalty, an experience shared by many of her peers at high schools across the United States.

Blind since birth, Perez, could not see the dress's mint green color, but said that did not limit her ability to enjoy the formal dance, a common rite of passage for American teens.

Perez, 18, described the gown she would put on in the small, comfortable apartment she lives in with her mother and four year-old brother J.J. as "kind of like a more toned-down version of a Disney princess dress. It makes me feel all elegant and special."

The practical teen with a bright laugh attends the same public high school as her sighted friends and was eager for the experience.

"I always thought that I might end up going. I didn't really know though," she said.

Asked about her prom date, Perez says she and Maddy Wilson are "like step-sisters, best friends who grew up together." The two were inseparable at the prom, held in the ballroom of a nearby hotel in Boston, from dinner to ice cream sundaes and, of course, packing onto a small dance floor with hundreds of her classmates.

"All of the Spanish music was my favorite," said Perez, whose mother is of Puerto Rican descent. "It's in my blood."

Her mother, Jennifer Alvarez, took Perez for a manicure, pedicure and hair straightening and cut in their working-class hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, a few days ahead of the prom and admitted to some jitters about her daughter growing up and heading out on her own.

"I wanted her to go to prom because that's a big experience in someone's life. You only get one time," Alvarez said, months before Perez is to head off to a new life at Boston's Berkeley College of Music, where she will study vocal performance and face new living arrangements at the school's downtown dormitories.

"She's going off to college. There's going to be parties. She's going to get invited out to a bar or out to a club, and it's terrifying," Alvarez said. "I'm ecstatic for her because this is what I want for her."

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