With traditional prom out, new “Senior Event” is in

Traditional+prom+has.+been+replaced+with+the+%22Senior+Event%22+this+year+due+to+COVID-19.

Davin Smith

Traditional prom has. been replaced with the “Senior Event” this year due to COVID-19.

This year has a knack for knocking tradition out the window, urging schools to figure out creative alternatives. With this in mind, Oakville High School will host an event for the Class of 2021 that will be a bit different than normal.

“We couldn’t do a traditional prom due to the circumstances,” said Mr. Brennan, assistant principal at OHS, “so we made this event so the kids could have something.”

This event taking the place of prom is what the administration is calling “Senior Event.” It will be a semi-formal dance that will take place in Gym A’s parking lot in a tent, and masks will be required. The theme of the event is “starry night” and multiple photo backdrops will be present at the event, including Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night. Seniors will be given a “swag bag,” and there will be a restaurant discount for reduced price on a meal.  One thing that will be the same as previous years is the senior court.

“We are doing a senior court because we didn’t have a homecoming or winter formal this year,” said Brennan. “It was important for us to give the seniors something for their last year here at Oakville.”

Along with Mr. Brennan, student body president Isabella Wirthlin (12) has been hard at work to figure out the details and the decorations for the event.

As Student Body President, I am extremely proud of the strides taken to make the big high school moments shine.”

— Isabella Wirthlin

“I am so very grateful to be given the opportunity to plan my class’s ‘prom’ even in the face of a pandemic,” said Wirthlin. “Although this year has ruined tradition and posed obstacles, I feel that it should rather be looked upon as an opportunity to grow up a touch faster. I’m glad that the administration is still continuously dedicated to the student body, and in specific the senior class. As Student Body President, I am extremely proud of the strides taken to make the big high school moments shine.”

The event will take place on May 15th from 5-8 pm, with parking available in the front for students. The event is specific to the senior class, meaning that students who are not from OHS or in a younger grade are not allowed to attend. The event will have a $15 fee to cover the rest of the tent rental.

“I’m glad that Oakville is still giving their students a chance to experience a prom, despite some setbacks due to COVID,” said Katie Luu (12).

Most seniors appreciate the efforts that the staff are scrambling to give to them, and are looking forward to the event, even though it’s not traditional. Claudia Mandrell (12) is happy that the event is semi-formal because “it seems to be a more casual environment and allows for us to have a more laid back night with our peers.” 

Even though the event is semi-formal, Brennan made it clear that if someone has already purchased a dress or tux that they were looking forward to wearing, they are welcome to wear it. For some seniors, there still is lingering disappointment for the loss of normality.

I’m trying to look forward to being with my classmates rather than focusing on what we’re missing out on.”

— Claudia Mandrell

“Obviously, it’s disappointing that we didn’t get the ‘traditional prom’ that others got in the past, but I’m still thankful that we get something to celebrate the class,” said Mandrell. “I’m trying to look forward to being with my classmates rather than focusing on what we’re missing out on.”

Other high schools in the Saint Louis area are also trying their very best to give their seniors a year that’s memorable in its differences to tradition. Mehlville High School is executing a plan similar to Oakville’s, but Lindbergh decided to go a completely different route.

LHS weighed all of the options available to them, and resolved to send a survey to the senior class to determine what the popular opinion was on where to host the event. The school held their “prom” at Sky-view Drive-in in Belleville, IL.

“We had about 200 students go,” said Joshua Piontek, prom coordinator at LHS. “The class voted on what movie we would watch (Ferris Bueller) and the kids that came had a fun time. Some dressed up, but most came casual. Some even fully decorated their cars. The night went off without a problem and may have created a new senior class tradition. Not a drive-in night to replace traditional future proms, buy an additional fun activity.”

 Similar to Oakville, the event was hosted only for LHS seniors, and the students enjoyed it.

“I thought the whole event was great,” said Piontek. “I was glad the kids had a great time and I am glad we were able to give them an experience.”

It was important for us to give the seniors something for their last year here at Oakville”

— Mr. Brennan

Coronavirus has made this school year tremendously difficult, especially for the seniors, but OHS and other schools in the area have worked through it as a community. Seniors were obligated to find solutions to difficult problems that had no handbooks, paving the way for themselves in preparations for their futures. The Oakville administration and senior class representatives are hoping this event will be successful, and that the students will have a good time.

“I’m pumped to see my class together all dressed up dancing through the night one last time,” said Wirthlin.