PHS 2020 Prom: The bash that almost never was

Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune
Pratt High School junior Lucas Baker attaches lights to a set piece for the 2020 Pratt High School Prom "A Whole New World." Prom was held at Merchants Park to comply with COVID-19 safety precautions. Lightning and an approaching storm cut the outdoor event short, but After Prom was continued at Blythe Family Fitness, as planned.

With a theme of "A Whole New World," the bash that almost never was, got off to a great start Saturday evening for USD 382 Pratt High School students at Merchants Park in Pratt.

For the students who were able to take part in 2020 prom activities, which had been rescheduled twice because of coronavirus restrictions, it was a unique experience, one that they likely will never forget.

Usually, prom is held during the school year and in the gym. But when COVID-19 rearranged the school year, prom was a couple of months late. Since the school year was already over, there were not as many students able to help decorate the park for prom. As juniors who have become seniors worked on this unique event in their lives, it was obvious this wouldn't be like proms in the past, according to student Kasondra Heredia who said there were a lot of conflicts that prevented some students from attending. With jobs, sports, military commitments, several students were missing.

But despite the obstacles, students were happy to have something almost normal.

"I'm thankful we're having a prom," Heredia said.

Student Devon Weber said it was nice for everyone to be able to get out and do things with the class. For a month, they couldn't do anything.

"I'm glad we can have it. Other schools can't," Weber said. “This is going to be nice.”

Weber said this would have been his first year of track and he missed that. He also said he has missed being able to hang out with his friends this year with the cancellation of in-person school classes and activities.

However, one thing he said he liked about taking classes online was being able to sleep in.

Junior Lucas Baker, who was at the park Saturday afternoon helping put up decorations said he was excited to have prom especially since so many others didn't get a prom.

There was a lot of uncertainty on how to finish the school year, he said.

“It's harder to take classes remotely,”he said. "You don't know how much you miss the one-on-one with the teachers until you don't have it.”

For student Jordyn Sanko, it was a good idea to have the prom outdoors. It gave the students a chance to finally do things together.

Sanko said it took her some time to get used to seeing the other students again. She liked online schooling because she could set her own schedule and work at her own pace. Sanko lives in Stafford and so being able to just stay home meant she didn't have to spend so much time on the road and she got to sleep late.

I do miss being part of Future Business Leaders of America and getting to do art projects,” she said. "I miss not being able to do extra curricular activities.”

Preparing for prom was definitely a challenge. Pratt High School Principal Steve Blankenship said Assistant Principal David Swank, Meagan Householter and Summer Younie worked together to come up with a plan that would allow for a prom while keeping health concerns in mind.

Besides the usual alcohol breath test, each student's temperature was taken before they could enter the prom area. There was hand sanitizer available and it all went toward allowing the students to have a terrific night, Blankenship said.

Having a prom was just one step in getting back to that normal that students seemed to crave.

Unfortunately, the outdoor dance and socializing of Pratt Prom 2020 was cut short by an approaching storm and lightning, but After Prom activities at Blythe Family Fitness were enjoyed by many.