OHS moves prom, graduation to July

Last+year%27s+graduation+ceremony+was+held+at+Chaifetz+Arena%2C+the+first+OHS+graduation+ceremony+ever+held+at+the+arena+on+the+St.+Louis+University+campus.+This+is+Sam+Gandhi+accepting+his+diploma+from+Mrs.+Peggy+Hassler+of+the+Mehlville+Board+of+Education.+Sam+was+the+2019+Student+Body+President.

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Last year's graduation ceremony was held at Chaifetz Arena, the first OHS graduation ceremony ever held at the arena on the St. Louis University campus. This is Sam Gandhi accepting his diploma from Mrs. Peggy Hassler of the Mehlville Board of Education. Sam was the 2019 Student Body President.

Covid-19 has ruined plans for millions of people around the world, and OHS is no different. Prom and graduation, two of the most memorable events in a student’s life, have been affected. The unknown of the virus puts students and teachers in an anxious place, and everyone is debating whether to hold these events in person or virtually.

As of now, OHS plans to hold these events in person. Moving the original date from May to mid July, OHS still wants to give the seniors an unforgettable year. Prom is planning on being held on Friday, July 17, at The Doubletree Hotel. The doors will open at 6, dinner will be held at 6:45, the dance will officially begin at 7:30, and it will end at 11.

“This is tentative,” said Mr. Brian Brennan, assistant principal for the Class of 2020. “It depends on what is happening with the current situation and if the (Mehlville School District) approves us being able to hold the event.”

As for graduation, it will most likely be held at Chaifetz Arena at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 19. It was originally scheduled to be held at Chaifetz on May 31, but the date has been moved. If graduation will be held as planned, OHS will host the senior breakfast followed by graduation practice on Thursday, July 16. Held at OHS, the breakfast will begin at 8:30. 

Students are not required to attend prom or graduation. If they do attend graduation, however, the graduation practice is necessary to participate in the July 19 ceremony. 

However, if the current situation with the pandemic worsens, there will have to be a change in plans. If students are not allowed to attend prom in person, there are presently no plans for a virtual event, according to Mr. Brennan. Administrators are still working on an alternative for graduation, but those plans have not been finalized. 

“We chose to move graduation and prom to July rather than June in an attempt to distance ourselves as much as possible from the current state of affairs,” Mr. Brennan explained.  “The hope is that more time will allow us a better chance to host these events as close to normal as possible.  

“The reason the events were clustered together is to make an effort to ensure as many people can attend each of the events as possible.  If we are open and free to travel, we thought having everything in a small window might make it easier to do than if we had them spread out over several weeks/weekends.”

Many seniors are upset the year did not end as they hoped and are disappointed that this important year may not live up to its expectations.

“I’m holding up pretty good, but it’s obviously a difficult situation right now,” Gavin Crawford (12) said. “It really sucks to (potentially) lose prom and everything else, but I think the best thing right now is to just work through this.”