Senior-only prom planned for May 8

The+2021+prom+will+be+held+for+BSM+seniors+outside+on+the+ROC+at+St.+Louis+Park%27s+Rec+Center.

Brook Wenande

The 2021 prom will be held for BSM seniors outside on the ROC at St. Louis Park’s Rec Center.

Prom is an indispensable––albeit stereotypical––staple of the American high school experience. A tad classier than homecoming, this upperclassmen-only dance is a classic tradition shared by generations of Americans.

However, the present and past year have held enough disruptions and distractions that prom shopping, planning, and executing have been largely pushed to the side. This year the BSM administration is hoping to bring back some semblance of normalcy by planning a make-do prom for seniors.

Last Monday, Assistant Principal Ms. Cami Dahlstrom sent an email to the class of 2021 detailing this year’s prom. “We are excited to host a Fire and Ice themed Prom this year for the class of 2021! All BSM Seniors are welcome! – no other guests, sorry. A food truck will be available from 7:00-10:00, nachos, quesadillas, shaved ice, etc. and a DJ for dancing. Masks will be required unless you are seated at your table and eating,” Dahlstrom wrote.

Prom will officially be held on May 8 at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center (the ROC) on the concrete rink outdoors. The cost is $30. There will be a Grand March in addition to the dinner and dance. “[The] Grand March will be in the BSM Stadium at 6:00pm if you want to participate, weather permitting. Parents are allowed to attend. Please provide your own transportation to and from Grand March and the ROC,” Dahlstrom wrote.

One head of prom planning is student council advisor and senior class advisor Ms. Mary Fran O’Keefe, who takes input from council members. Unlike past years, when the junior council members planned prom, this year the task fell to the seniors. “This was a new experience… I hope that seniors make the best of it, and have fun; we’re doing our best to make it be festive and fun for everybody,” O’Keefe said in an interview.

However, the student council is a bit wary about students’ attitudes towards prom as compared to past years. “I think that students aren’t nearly as enthusiastic about prom this year. When we were presented with the plan at a recent student council meeting, you could tell the enthusiasm was really lacking,” senior Sarah McGurl, Secretary for Student Council, wrote in a joint email interview with senior Nick Marinaro, Vice President.

The senior staff did, however, have some help when it came to this year’s venue. “Fortunately at the beginning of the year, Mr. [Jerry] Pettinger had the foresight to reserve the ROC…as a possibility for prom. And then as regulations played out, and we investigated other venues, nobody else really had the capability to handle that size group,” O’Keefe said.

The seniors in student council had hoped to find an indoor venue. “It seems [the administration is] going in a different direction from our input…I think if they approved an indoor venue with the junior and senior class then people would be much more excited,” McGurl wrote.

Despite frustration from seniors, this year’s venue was not negotiable. “We met with the senior class board a couple times. Some of the people on the board would much rather be indoors…[but the ROC] was the only thing that was really going to work; we didn’t really have a lot of choices when it came down to it…nobody else really had the capability to handle that size group, inside, for dancing,” O’Keefe said.

Once the turf is removed, the area under the open dome will be ready for BSM’s 2021 Prom. (Brook Wenande)

After interviewing various seniors at school, it seemed their general attitude was interested, but rather indifferent. “I don’t have too much interest in it, [but] it really depends on who’s going,” senior Leonardo Jimenez said.

However, in a survey sent only to the senior class––which received 20 responses and can hardly represent the entire grade’s opinion––none of the students answered “no” to if they are interested in going to prom. In fact, in an open-response question, most of the seniors were either neutral or excited about juniors being barred from this year’s dance. “Let’s gooo,” senior Mikey McCormick wrote.

Some seniors expressed concern for COVID cautions amid recent spikes in outbreaks. “If there aren’t restrictions and good mitigation strategies, I do not want to go,” senior Grace Lira wrote.

Nonetheless, seniors seem willing to deal with restrictions despite changes to tradition. “We are living in a pandemic, there’s bound to be changes; we just need to adapt like we have been,” senior Lucio Fialo wrote.

The administration has ensured safety restrictions will be in place during prom, but they can’t banish all risk. “There’s going to be some risks involved. But hopefully everybody will be able to be respectful–– distancing and staying with your group––and we can make it a fun evening,” O’Keefe said.