Junior class officers present COVID-19-friendly prom, the first dance of the year


     Earlier this week, it was announced that tickets to Prom 2021 were finally available for purchase, after more than a year of no school dances or gatherings of this manner. There have been changes to the typical prom experience this year, but it will still incorporate all of the hallmarks of a typical Highlands prom.

     The long-awaited dance, which automatically includes Prom to Dawn this year, will be held on Saturday, May 15, from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. The cost of tickets is $75 per person, which includes a Highlands prom sweatshirt, four food truck vouchers, the photo booth experience, games and entertainment, and most importantly, the DJ. Tickets are only available for Highlands students who are juniors or seniors. This means that dates from other schools and underclassmen will not be permitted to attend.

     The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 prevented the current seniors from experiencing their first prom, but with hard work from the junior class sponsor, Kristin Wilson, and the junior class officers, Highlands students will be able to experience one of the most highly anticipated and revered high school traditions. 

     Junior Class President Kylie Toole is one of the main students working to organize prom this year. 

     “The planning process was a lot of throwing out ideas, and basically cycling through them to make sure that we can maximize the fun of prom and Prom Til Dawn while keeping it COVID[-19] safe,” Toole explained.

     In order to address social distancing and contact tracing concerns, students in attendance will be required to buy tickets within a “cohort.” Between two and eight people can serve as a cohort, and that group will be able to dance for a specific 15-minute interval. The cohort system does not mean that students’ social interaction is limited throughout the evening; different cohorts will be permitted to mingle and hang out.

     Wilson noted that the planning committee faced unique challenges, but were not deterred. 

     “Some of our challenges were, how can we let as many kids get together while still keeping them a safe distance apart? Letting them have fun with their friends, while also staying healthy at the same time.”

     Students are encouraged to dress formally, but to bring a change of clothing in order to enjoy the Prom to Dawn components more comfortably. There will be a bag check, dress check, and tuxedo return available. Masks will be required for the duration of the event.

     “You will arrive, we’ll have food trucks, casino games in the gym, and then we’ll also be having some staples of Prom to Dawn on the field and in the fieldhouse,” Toole elaborated. “You’ll see inflatable slides, obstacle courses, and some fun games. We are limiting the dancing due to COVID[-19), but there will still be opportunities to dance with your friends.”

     In addition to the inflatables and games on the football field, there will also be activities in different parts of the Highlands campus. The fieldhouse will feature giant games and a mechanical bull ride, while the gymnasium will be hosting the dessert table, formal photos by Mansion Hill Photography, and casino games. 

     In past years, Prom to Dawn has been an add-on to prom that occurred after prom had concluded. Wilson thinks the change this year may be a positive one. 

     “I think it’s a lot of fun that you can have the formal aspect and simultaneously have that informal too,” Wilson explained. “You could be formal for an hour, then go play some games as soon as you want.”

      When planning the event, the junior class officers realized that the overall significance of holding this event will transcend the Highlands students who will be attending.

     Toole remarked, “I think it will be really nice because our community hasn’t been able to do something like this in 14 months or so.”

     For more information about food truck vouchers, tickets, cohort rules, and attire, check the HHS Class of 2021/2022 Announcements pages on Schoology.