Seniors celebrate as difficult school year ends


Photo by Raven Easterly

Sarah Stuenkel and Mackenzie Gore converse at the socially distanced senior prom that the school sponsored.

Raven Easterly, In-depth Editor

  Senior celebration, otherwise known as prom, was held on April 30; while some students appreciated the gesture to give the seniors a sense of normalcy, some decided to host their own forms of celebration.  

  “There’s really no dancing or food at the school’s senior celebration, which isn’t normal; plus, a lot of my friends are in different grades and schools, so we wanted everyone to be together,” Taylor Maher, senior, said.  

  The administration and student council had wanted to find a way around the pandemic restrictions and the restrictions of the district, while finding something the seniors could enjoy.  

  “We wanted to do something for the seniors; since last year’s group didn’t get anything, we figured this was better than nothing,” Kimberlie Mattern, math teacher, said. 

 The school was not comfortable holding the celebration within the school building or in a compact indoor location, creating more restrictions for the student council. 

  “We did not want to do it on campus, which two other schools are doing, because of all the sports going on; we figured the space was at a premium in our building and in order to have 75 or more people, our outside space would be limited, so we decided to hold it off campus,” Mattern said. 

  The school had noticed a large decrease in senior participation with the celebration, with less than half of the normal attendance. 

  “We normally have around 300 seniors go to prom, this year we have around 140. It saddens me because it’s free, but it tells me that some of our kids are not as connected to the school,” Chris Chlebek, principal, said. 

  While some students are holding celebrations as large as 100-200 people, most of the private celebrations being held are smaller than 50 people.  

  “There will only be about 30 people there, much less than the school’s celebration,” Maher said. 

  While seniors have been able to plan what they wanted, with some added costs, the school has had a severely limiting factor to what they were able to host. 

  “We were told by the district that we could not charge anything this year,” Mattern said. 

  Because the school district didn’t charge students for admission, the school had to cut out what some call necessary to hold a ‘prom.’ So, in many of the larger student-held celebrations, there is a fee for those who want to attend. 

  “Ours is $50 per person, and will include a DJ, food, drinks and decoration,” Maher said. 

  There are some concerns when it comes to some of the student celebrations, with students removing masks to eat and drink, while also crowding together while dancing; there is a higher risk of someone becoming infected with COVID-19.  

  “I worry about if somebody gets sick that it might have a large ripple effect on people and it could affect graduation,” Mattern said. “I would prefer student celebrations were taking place after graduation and the school-related things were done so that it didn’t potentially affect someone’s graduation day. Do what you want, just don’t affect other people and stay safe.”  

  With the severity of a student catching and spreading the virus, seniors are advised to stay safe by continuing to social distance and properly wear masks.  

  “I foresee that we are going to have kids who come down with and spread COVID. That doesn’t mean everyone who gets together with a group of five friends is going to catch it. But, if we do it enough, eventually it’s going to happen,” Chlebeck said. 

  While the senior celebration wasn’t quite a ‘prom,’ it was a chance for the seniors to come together and hang out with each other, dressing semi-formally and seeing some classmates in person for the first time this year. 

  “I appreciate that the school is trying to at least have something for our class. Although it is disappointing that it isn’t a normal prom like other years,” Cecelia Fitzgerald said.