Hannah Rogers hates seeing her friends not go to school dances.

“It’s hard to see that, especially when others get asked and they don’t get asked,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to find a way to fix that.”

The American Fork High School senior is giving it a try. Rogers is the creator behind BeenAsked.com, a website that lists students who have and haven’t been asked yet to a school dance.

Students can fill out a short survey online to be added to a list that shows who has been asked and who is still available. The list is constantly updated and students indicate through an online form when they’ve been asked.

Rogers came up with the idea during an entrepreneurship class she took at the high school last semester. The class challenged students to come up with a business idea and pursue it in real life. The assignment was given around the beginning of the school year, around the same time students started asking each other for the school’s homecoming dance.

Rogers worked with her school’s administration and learned that only half of students were attending dances. She conducted a survey, and discovered that the main reasons students weren’t going to dances were because they didn’t know who to ask and that going to dances was too pricey.

The BeenAsked website includes a section for deals, which includes discounts on items such as attire, day date activities, dinner, after-party activities and transportation. Local businesses can also advertise on the site for a fee.

She marketed the website at American Fork High School by placing information about it on the back of her annual Nicolas Cage-themed Valentine’s Day cards. Rogers said she hands out between 150 and 500 of the valentines every year as students anticipate and try to collect the valentines, which include messages like “you’ve caged my heart” and “I stole the Declaration, but you stole my heart.”

The website saw a surge in people signing up after Valentine’s Day. It has about 80 students from American Fork High School listed so far, and Rogers hopes to see more as the April 20 prom gets nearer.

The website has been live since January. Rogers would like to see it expand to other schools beyond American Fork High School if other students and administrations show interest.

“I would love to just see students use this all the time,” Rogers said. “I would love to see the need to ask people if they’ve been asked yet fade out because that is so awkward. I hate that aspect of dances.”

Rogers used the website to find her own date for the school’s girls’ choice preference dance. She had known the student, who had been a part of Rogers’ group for a previous dance.

She plans to keep BeenAsked active when she attends Brigham Young University in the fall to study either business or design. Rogers said she’s been interested in business her entire life and is glad she took the entrepreneurship class.

“It was the best class I took in all of high school,” Rogers said. “It was hands-on and we learned so much.”

The project was also named a finalist for the 2019 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge from the Lassonde Entrepreneurship Institute at the University of Utah.

With such a strong focus on prom, Rogers would like to break down the barriers that prevent students from going.

“It is just really ingrained in our society, and even if you don’t like dances, I think you have to at least experience it, or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life,” Rogers said.

Braley Dodson covers health and education for the Daily Herald.

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