Kitsap high school students making plans for modified proms
Dancing and music, dresses and tuxedos, students?posing for photos, memories that’ll last a lifetime.
There are few gatherings in high school that bring students together like prom.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hang out with the class you grew up with,” Kingston High School student Brian Ramirez said.
The COVID-19 pandemic ruined planned festivities for the Class of 2020, but current juniors and seniors are eager to witness the return of prom?activities this spring.
Not the same type of prom as before, not with certain health protocols still in place, but still something special.
"We're trying to make it as similar as possible," North Kitsap student Brianna Hoffman said.
Some local school districts are still formulating plans for prom. South Kitsap School District spokeswoman?Amy Miller said ASB students and parents of Class of 2021 graduates are scheduled to meet this month?to figure out prom details. Central Kitsap School District spokesman?David Beil said the same discussions are being held at his district's three high schools: Central Kitsap, Olympic and Klahowya.
Bremerton High School senior class adviser Kathryn Yanuszeski said her school is using the Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside to hold a two-hour gathering with a plated dinner and dessert, music and a photo booth. Yanuszeski didn't think dancing would be allowed.
Bremerton High has used other venues outside the city in the past, such as Trophy Lake Golf & Casting Club?in Port Orchard.?
“The last couple years, we’ve tried to keep it local so more of our students didn’t have to travel as much. It's safer," Yanuszeski said. "We wanted to put money back into a Bremerton business."
Hoffman, a senior and ASB president at North Kitsap, said her school is moving forward with plans to hold prom in May at Block 41, a venue located in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood.?
"We booked it two years ago," said Hoffman, who picked up her prom dress this week.
Attending prom during a?time slot
To adhere to COVID safety protocols and social-gathering guidelines,?Hoffman said?that prom attendees will be assigned different?timeslots for attending Block 41, which will be rented out for a total of 10 hours. Students will be advised to attend dinner either before or after their scheduled timeslot.?
Inside Block 41, Hoffman isn't sure if dancing will be permitted, but the plan is for?music, games, photos and possibly light snacks and beverages. It's more than many students might have expected in September when everyone was isolated at home and classes were all remote.
"At the beginning of the school year," Hoffman said, "people were realizing, 'Maybe this isn’t going to happen, we’re not going to have any of this.'”
Katie Schmidt, junior class adviser at Kingston High School, said this year's senior class is planning for gathering at the Seattle Aquarium. As for Kingston's Class of 2022, fundraising might play a part in determining what location they can secure.
Schmidt said Kingston's junior class typically generates a healthy?portion of prom funding through homecoming festivities in the fall. With homecoming being canceled, Kingston is planning an online silent auction on Facebook on May 21-23. Schmidt said local business owners, artists and vendors are being asked to donate goods and services to help raise money.
“Our students are going out into the community, talking to businesses," Schmidt said.?“These kids are thinking really positive."
Ramirez, a junior and ASB co-treasurer at the high school, said the Class of 2022 is looking at multiple locations, including Seattle Aquarium, Columbia Center and Kiana Lodge. Most venues across the water are more expensive.??
Ramirez joked that he still has?plenty of time to find a date for next year's prom. He's optimistic that by 2022, COVID won't have a chance to crash the party.
“Hopefully next year we can step back to normal," Ramirez said, "have the prom we really wish for.”