Prom planning continues to find ways to adapt with COVID-19


Emma Prilop

Prilop has been planning since last year for Prom 2021.

Kate Denning, Staff Reporter

Another idea hits a wall, but something must go forward. So the team of high schoolers, teachers and administrators continue to brainstorm in order to give their classmates and students a prom worth remembering. 

After months of planning and many scrapped ideas, Student Council Prom Officer and junior Emma Prilop met with Associate Principal Jayme Spexarth to discuss how to go forward with prom this year. With so many suggestions being brought up, Prilop has been attempting to narrow them down so juniors and seniors would know what prom would look like this year. As of now, the plan is to hold an outdoor event in the school’s courtyard from 8 to 10 p.m. on May 15.

“In the very beginning there was no plan,” Prilop said. “Everything was so subjective and we weren’t sure if we could have any prom at all. We tried coming up with virtual ideas, but if I’m being honest that would have been incredibly lame; no one would have wanted a virtual prom.”

Prilop has been tossing around ideas for a safe yet fun prom for a while, but only began to define what ideas were actually plausible recently.

“I have been planning for this year’s prom since last year’s was cancelled,” Prilop said. “I have been working more seriously with prom [planning] this year towards the end of the first semester.”

However, according to Prilop’s “second-in-command” junior Abby John, finding a place to host an event indoors with so many attendees has been difficult.

“We initially were planning to do some sort of in-person prom, just because we know that a virtual prom would not have a very good turn out,” John said. “We wanted to create something special for the seniors especially, since it will be their first prom ever. We also were trying to find some place big enough to safely hold that many kids, but a lot of indoor places rejected the idea.”

Prilop and John both said that because the plan is still to conduct an in-person event, admission priority is being placed on seniors. The maximum capacity that the school will allow is 500 people, so once those tickets sell out, no other students will be able to attend. 

“Thanks to our wonderful administration and Principal Little, we are able to put on an in-person prom event for students,” Prilop said. “This year it’s going to be significantly different than in years past, but we wanted to ensure there was an option available for those who want to come in person.”

But Prilop hasn’t been working alone to reach her goal. She’s had many staff members on her team helping her out, and will extend the circle of influence to include general student council members at the next StuCo meeting.

“Our club sponsor Mrs. [Kirsten] Mulligan has been a great resource for communication with the admin, as well as one of our officers Abby John who has been a sort of second-in-command type for me to bounce ideas off of,” Prilop said. “I have also been working closely with Mrs. [Jayme] Spexarth and Mrs. [Phyllis] Boddorf in the office as well as our bookkeeper Ms. [Melissa] Smith in order to remain on track for prom. All of these lovely ladies have been amazing in ensuring a prom can happen this year.”

Prilop and John have seen the impacts on their fellow students since the cancelling of last year’s prom, and hope to create a memorable event for the class of 2021, who have already missed out on many typical senior experiences.

“I couldn’t imagine how the class of 2020, and even 2021, felt about prom cancellation last year on top of an already extremely dire and stressful situation,” Prilop said. “The impact on me personally was seeing how much COVID-19 negatively affected others through cancellations, social isolation and mental health. That was one of my driving forces to try and make an experience like this happen in lieu of a lack of normalcy for so long.”

John reflected Prilop’s feelings as well, saying that while she was upset she wouldn’t be able to attend a prom this year, she hopes that seniors receive a wonderful experience.

“I hope seniors will be able to feel just a small sense of normalcy to close off their senior year,” John said. “Although it will be different from a typical prom, I hope it will still be memorable and special in its own unique way. I want it to be a place for them to have fun and see some friends in person that they might not have seen yet this year.”

Despite all the rescheduling and planning, both Prilop and John are striving to make prom 2021 as memorable–and safe–as possible before the senior class leaves their high school years behind.

“I hope that however strange, non traditional and unconventional this year’s prom may be, providing the opportunity for upperclassmen to live an experience that they so rightfully deserve will make up for a lack of that last year,” Prilop said. “I hope that this event can make up for lost time and that seniors can make just a few more memories of their high school experience before it comes to an abrupt end; that this year will be one for the books, not for negative reasons.”