WHS Students Deserve to Have a Prom


(Photo/ gallipolisdailytribune.com)

Editor’s note: This article was written before the WHS prom was announced.

With the second semester in full swing, many students especially at Walpole High School have started to think about the end-of-year activities. There has been a common question of, is prom going to happen? With the past two abnormal years, people are ready to have prom back as a tradition that normally happens each spring. It is a time to spend with friends and make memories that can be cherish forever. If students do not get prom, will there still be another event to live up to its expectation?

Having prom is a big part of high school that many people look forward to as a special event. During the season of prom, many students will either go with friends or attend with a date. Leading up to prom, girls will typically shop for dresses with friends and family members. Friends will get ready together and go take formal pictures together. Having a prom this year would be the first one in two years because of COVID-19 guidelines.

“My sister, Cate, never got a prom,” sophomore Abbi Lightbody said. “I had realized our grade hasn’t really gotten any other dances either.” 

For the class of 2024, 8th grade dinner dances, Canobie Lake field trips, and graduations were canceled, along with the amount of sports seasons and other events canceled for current seniors and juniors as well. Even if the pandemic never existed, students would be limited to the amount of events allowed, something that Walpole High could resolve by reimplementing more dances other than just prom. 

 “I started a petition to try and bring homecoming back a few months ago,” Lightbody said. “I don’t want to feel disconnected from school and would like to create fun memories.”

With fewer opportunities to get to know peers, and being separated in surgical masks and zoom calls for over a year, the transition back to school was difficult for most. Other students have thought about feeling isolated from school as well, wondering if hosting a school dance would make others feel less alone. 

“I don’t participate in many school events,” sophomore Meghan McNeil said. “It’s difficult to connect with other people from COVID-19, a dance could bring us together.”

With the pandemic still going on, there are circumstances as to why changes would happen to prom. The main majority of students are hoping that prom happens in a way that is as safe as possible. 

 “Of course, I could understand why prom may not happen, but I hope administration tries everything in their power to somehow make it happen. Even if we have to wear masks or have it outside, I still think there is a way to make it as close to ‘normal’ prom as possible” an anonymous junior said.  

With the COVID-19 guideline changing constantly, the school could adapt the idea of prom and make it COVID-19 -friendly so everyone feels safe. There could be testing before, a mask if needed inside, COVID-19 vaccine cards required or even an outdoor event instead of indoor.

The big question is if a dance would be safe at all, as an outbreak would be possible. With different variants continuing to affect the community, it is questionable if the school should just wait until the pandemic comes to a close. But as the health department is seeing a decline in cases, there is a much better chance of Walpole High hosting a dance sometime soon.  

“80% vaccination rate is really good right now, we’re nearing 90% as well,” Nurse Rachel Jackson said. “It could definitely be manageable. A small outbreak could occur, but we’re not inevitable to it.”

If prom cannot happen, there are always other activities that can happen to make the end of the year special for everyone. In recent years there have been outdoor activities and drive-bys that have been put in effect to replace the events that are not COVID-19-friendly. Ultimately that is the last resort that students are hoping for since prom is the main activity that students want to happen. 

Many hope that the end of the Omicron variant will cause COVID-19 cases to go down in the spring, so having a prom would be the light at the end of the tunnel to sum up a difficult year, especially for seniors. For many, prom is a major part of high school, and high schoolers feel it is important to have a prom and make memories that will last a lifetime. 

“Our hope is that we can do it, but as I am sure you can understand, we can’t circumvent state law with this stuff,” Assistant Principal Lee Tobey said. “Gillette may not be able to accommodate us; we are still waiting, as far as I know, to see if it’s even a viable option. However, it is booked and we are currently planning on having it.” 

Administration will communicate any information about prom with students as the year progresses.