The future is prom-ising

Bethany Bergschneider, Editor

The 2020-21 school year has been full of uncertainty and missed milestones. However, juniors and seniors will get to take part in one (modified) tradition: prom. Prom will look different this year; rather than the traditional promenade and dinner at Hamilton’s, it will simply be an 8-10 p.m. dance in the FHS gym with no after-prom. “It’s going to be a condensed version, but at least it’s something,” says junior class sponsor and prom organizer, Mrs. Lancaster. 

“We are going to have it at the school, that way it can be more contained and safe. Also, dinner will be more like homecoming, where you go out and eat, then come.”

As an alternative to the promenade, where parents, friends, and family traditionally come to get pictures, there will be a photo booth. “We can take pictures and put them on Facebook for those who weren’t able to see you,” Mrs. Lancaster says.

Even with all the current turmoil, Mrs. Lancaster felt determined to make prom possible. “I felt like it was fair. If sports were going on, why couldn’t we have a dance? Also, seniors missed out on prom last year, so we didn’t want them to miss out on another prom.” 

Senior Zoe Graves is looking forward to prom. “I’m extremely excited for it because I feel like this is the main thing of high school, other than graduating. I was very upset (at the idea of not having a prom). When I thought that we weren’t going to have it, I was freaking out.”

Fortunately for Graves and other seniors with similar sentiments, certain precautions should make prom possible. Obviously, the public health practices we’ve followed all year, such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and temperature checks, will be in place for prom as well.

However, capacity limits and guidance for group events could change. Originally, to comply with Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, prom was going to be held over two nights, one for juniors and one for seniors. However, with a recent rule shift that allows for larger group gatherings at ticketed events, it may be possible to hold a traditional one-night prom.

The originally planned dates were April 23 for juniors and April 24 for seniors, but since there are conflicts with sports on those dates, they will be changing. Mrs. Lancaster says that the new tentative dates would be for the next weekend, April 30-May 1, and hopes that a one-day event for both juniors and seniors could be held on either of those days. 

“Because of the wording from the IDPH, if it is a ticketed event, you can have up to a percentage of the capacity (in that room)…our gym can basically hold up to 400 people. That way, we could have more than 50 (people), which was the number I was told last week.”

As regulations around COVID-19 change, so could plans for prom. Mrs. Lancaster emphasized that there is room for flexibility.