MSMS students have mixed feelings about ‘socially distanced’ prom

MSMS%27s+%22socially+distanced+prom%22+will+look+a+bit+different+this+year.

Courtesy of Junior Class Officers

MSMS’s “socially distanced prom” will look a bit different this year.

Chloe Sharp, Staff Writer

This year’s prom theme is “Enchanted Night,” but some students say they’re not feeling the magic. Covid restrictions mean that students who are studying virtually in the final quarter cannot attend and neither can guests from outside the school.

“I am extremely upset and disgusted at the way prom is being held this year,” says Meredith Johnson, a senior at MSMS. “This is the first, last, and only opportunity for seniors to celebrate the 12 hard years we’ve had to endure. Prom is a tradition of American high school, and we should be finding a way to have everyone at prom.”

Junior class president Vineel Vanga, who is one of the organizers, sympathized but said safety has to come first.

“I feel for the off-campus students, and I would not like to be in their position,” said Vanga. But he added: “If someone did not want to risk coming to campus in the beginning, then why risk it more by coming to prom where there could be a higher risk? I think that is the thought process behind admin’s decision to prevent any outside student from coming to prom.”

Many students are just thankful that MSMS is holding the celebration.

“I am a bit disappointed, but I recognize that this is the best option, all things considered, and I’m happy that we get to have a prom at all,” said Jillian Snodgrass, a junior at MSMS. “I know the class officers worked hard to plan this, so I’m very thankful for them. In my opinion, if everyone makes up their minds to enjoy this, then it can be just as fun as a typical prom.” 

Though the festivities this year are far from typical, MSMS students are still taking part in one prom tradition that never goes out of style: finding the perfect prom outfit.

In previous years we went to a junior auxiliary prom closet on the coast, but this year we bought mine online and were stunned to see the quality!” MSMS senior Courtenay Sebastian said. “It was a bit small, but as soon as my mom altered it (thanks mom!) it fits amazing and I’m so excited to wear this dress.”

Prom this year will take place May 1 at Pohl Gymnasium from 6-10 p.m. Though the event is typically a school dance, this year it will be held as a banquet with programmed entertainment throughout the evening.

“Offering a nice sit-down dinner seemed to be the best way to preserve the formal atmosphere of a prom while also maintaining social distancing,” said faculty prom adviser and World Languages teacher Lori Pierce. “Nice dinners have always been a precursor to proms and we have sometimes held a dinner on campus just prior to the dancing part of prom. We also have a tradition of having lots of good food during our proms, which we will continue. In addition to a dinner, we plan to have some light hors d’oeuvres available right at 6:00, and then we are working with PLUS to provide snacks for after dinner.”

For those who will miss the dancing aspect of prom, never fear, the planners figured out a way for everyone to be able to dance safely: Line dancing.

“An evening with nothing but dancing – as it the tradition – was obviously not a good solution with covid still out there in force,” said Pierce. “We discussed ways to implement social distancing while dancing. I had the idea even of placing hula hoops on the floor and everyone would have to dance alone in a hula hoop. Eventually, we hit on the idea of doing line dances like the Electric Slide, which have always been a popular component of MSMS proms. The junior class officers also began brainstorming ideas for activities during the evening.”

Other plans include karaoke and a retrospective photo montage of this year. One student will also be awarded the title of “Best Mask,” in keeping with the covid era. A fashion show has been proposed and “in the works, ” Vanga said.

Though prom is not being held traditionally this year, Vanga is confident that he and the junior class officers have planned the best prom possible given the circumstances.

“No one knows what’s happening behind the scenes. We have been working since November, and we’ve had weekly meetings, but a lot of our ideas have been shot down,” says Vanga. “I wish that this year could have been different, and I wish that we could have a traditional prom, but I feel like we made use of what we could have done this year.”