A Fulfilled PROMise

Parents and student leaders organize unofficial prom

Prom is often viewed as the hallmark of high school, a night filled with laughter and memories, a chance to get dressed up and go out with friends, but with the changes brought on by COVID-19, long-awaited events such as Prom and Homecoming have been cancelled, leaving many seniors feeling like something is missing. 

It’s not the photos. It’s not the music. It’s the memory: the potential of having one last night to look back on before walking through the big blue doors of Francis Howell Central for the last time. 

This year, a school hosted prom isn’t feasible with the COVID-19 regulations and restrictions in place, so a collection of student leaders have gathered to organize their own prom.

Kevin Mawi, senior class president, is one of the students in charge of assisting in the set up of the prom. 

“I’m so grateful that they asked me to help out … I never got my own prom and I would love to see everyone one last time before we all head off into our separate paths. I hope that it reminds us of a time before COVID-19 and everyone is able to enjoy themselves,” Mawi said. 

The prom will be held at the Piazza Messina on Monday, June 7, from 7- 11p.m. The theme is a starry night and the prom will be following safety recommendations set by the St. Charles County Health Department. 

Senior Alyssa Winkler also plans to attend and retain the same normality around the event.

“I’m hoping it’s going to be…the same as every other year…I didn’t have one last year and I definitely want one this year,” Winkler said. 

Parent assistant, Doug Hacker, remains aware of the potential spread of COVID-19 and hopes to keep students safe. 

“It is impossible to say no one would be exposed to COVID-19. However, we feel that we have taken significant precautions in planning this event so that will not be an issue … the venue is outdoors … we are recommending that anyone attending follow the rules from St. Charles County health department. And … everyone that wants to be vaccinated that would be in attendance will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated,” Hacker said. 

To help maintain safety, both Mawi and Winkler were adamant about wearing their masks and encouraging others attending to do the same. 

Regardless, some students are still hesitant about attending. Senior Reed Easterling worries about the effect it may have on others if COVID-19 is spread. 

“It’s mask optional and I don’t value my high school experience over the life of someone who’s taking my order at a grocery store or serving … in any other capacity,” Easterling said. 

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Party Central was originally an all-night lock-in designed to protect students from the increased number of distracted driving deaths towards the end of the year, as well as provide a way for senior students to get an opportunity to spend one last time together in a safe environment. Along with changes to prom, Party Central has also seen adjustments in response to COVID-19. This year, it will be 6 p.m. – midnight  on June 5, where seniors will get a chance to spend time with each other, and show off the senior gift. Instead of meeting in the school, seniors will meet on the football field decked out with inflatables, music, food trucks, and fireworks. 

“I think the tradition is amazing because it’s just a whole night for one last time with everyone in your class. I’ve looked forward [to] it since I was a freshman,” Mawi said. 

This event is planned over the course of four years by the Parent Club, who, through fundraisers and ticket fees, collects roughly $35,000-$40,000 to cover the events and activities provided.

“[It’s a] fun way we can honor our students for their accomplishments, [and] let them have another neat memory of their time at Howell Central with their friends on our campus…it’s really a neat night,” Dr. Arnel said.