First On-Campus Prom Since 1982
Prom is a milestone event in the life of most high school students, especially seniors. However, the threat of COVID has prohibited students everywhere from experiencing this special night. Having been cancelled last year, many Neshannock pupils–myself included–anxiously waited all year to hear about any plans for a 2021 Prom, so when the outline for an on-campus dance was announced, it was a celebration for many, including the faculty.
Mrs. Jennifer Flannery, elementary teacher and cyber school administrator, played a key role in the organization of this unique Senior Prom, alongside other faculty members and parents. Having not been held on campus since 1982, I was curious as to how this idea came to be. Mrs. Flannery says, “Given everything with COVID, holding it on-campus lessened our risks with potential exposure, as well as potential financial loss.”
Having been the first Prom held at Neshannock in a post-COVID world, Mrs. Flannery detailed the tedious aspect of coordinating this event, including keeping a close eye on the daily amount of COVID cases in the county, making sure that the floor plan was wide enough to allow proper social distancing, and setting up numerous hand sanitizer stations.
However, the job was not always so uptight, as organizers also got the chance to line up several entertainment options for students to enjoy such as food trucks, a hypnotist, caricature artist, and photo booth. After the isolated, grim year high school students and teachers have just experienced, Mrs. Flannery also placed heavy emphasis on how exhilarating it was to experience some normalcy, saying, “The night exceeded our expectations. The atmosphere and mood were everything we hoped it would be and more!” Mrs. Flannery also noted that the planning of this Senior Prom was in no way a one-person job, and wishes to extend her deepest gratitude to everyone who assisted in the planning and execution.
As a Prom attendee myself, it was evident that every facet of the dance was well thought out and each detail was picked through with a fine-tooth comb. From the flip flops provided to the girls so that they did not have to wear their heels all night, to the red carpet: everything was perfect! Senior Julia Germond-Loudon, expressed her initial concerns saying, “When I first heard that Prom was on campus, I was worried no one would show up.” She continued, saying that the staff’s inclusion of seniors in the planning silenced those doubts and that the evening surpassed all of her expectations. Prom-goer Tori Shultz’s recount of the night echoed that same satisfaction stating: “The night was more than I could ever have imagined.” It is safe to say that Prom 2021 will certainly be a night to remember for each person in attendance, especially the seniors who lost so much of their high school experience to COVID.
There is a reason that Prom is a landmark event for high school students; it allows for connection and a break from the stresses of everyday life. For one night, students can simply live in the moment, a sensation that is few and far between these days amidst a pandemic. This affair is acutely monumental for seniors, as it is one of the last opportunities to bond with peers and just to be a high schooler before graduation. These memories are the ones that will remain with you forever, the ones that you will tell your kids about, and the ones that you will always look back on. Though different from previous years, this Senior Prom will not be forgotten.