Class of 2021 is Logging Off – This Year’s Prom and Graduation


Image courtesy of DHS

Jessica Apple, Editor-in-Chief

After the pandemic derailed hopes of a normal prom and graduation for the DHS Class of 2020, there is a lot of uncertainty around what these events will look like for 2021’s seniors. What is certain, however, is that attempting to balance seniors’ wishes for them to feel as normal as possible with safety restrictions is a tough act. Yet, the organizers are thoughtfully planning how to make these milestones fun and safe for everyone.

Regarding prom, according to Mr. Verisario, DHS’s Student Activities Director, “Prom is truly one of the most fun nights of senior year, and although we can’t recreate exactly what we would do we’re going to try to make it a night where we can get as much of the senior class together to create something special.” While the plan is for food to be absent and guests from other schools not allowed, his main focus is on fulfilling the three things that the Class of 2021 reported from survey results was most important to them: the event has a formal feel, there’s music and dancing, and as many of the seniors can celebrate together as possible.

However, the extent to which that’s possible is completely dependent on the state of the pandemic, which along with weather is one of the reasons Mr. Verisario wanted to wait until June to hold prom. The fact is that there’s a maximum number of those who are unvaccinated or don’t get tested every one to three days who are able to be there, and the hope is that it isn’t exceeded. “The more and more kids that are vaccinated by June the greater chance we’ll be able to have something cool,” he suggested.

Currently, students will need to be six feet apart at all times, but that is something that’s still being figured out as Lake County’s rules and regulations for prom are finalized. One thing is for sure, though―he is hard at work figuring out how to make prom look like the fancy event it would normally be. While the event will be in the DHS parking lot, attendees will be under a large tent and there’s likely to be flooring and other nice decorations dressing up the space.

It’s more certain that the graduation ceremony will resemble how it normally would be, aside from the venue change from Ravinia to DHS’s own Adams Field. Ravinia isn’t opening until July so it couldn’t have been held there, but I’m confident that having graduation on campus will be more meaningful since the ceremony is taking place at what’s been an academic home for these four years. Additionally, as it’s on DHS grounds there’s less to worry about in terms of cancelations and sharing the space.

Most seniors are allowed tickets for up to two parents or guardians to come per family, and this limited number was likely chosen to permit everyone to fit safely in the stands. This actually allows for more people than accounted for by the usual four to six allotted tickets to see the ceremony, as there will be a virtual aspect that other family members and friends can access.

It’s evident that given the state of the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, prom and graduation can’t be completely like they were for the Class of 2019 and before. However, something that came across through my interview with Mr. Verisario is that the organizers of these events and he especially are trying to take into account the opinions and preferences of the senior class while still adhering to guidelines that dictate what we’re allowed to do. He admitted, “Right now I think one of the most important things is trying to do things to feel ‘back to normal’… to go back to some of those traditions and fun activities that we’re used to.” Regardless, it’s clear that many people are hard at work planning to celebrate the admirably resilient Class of 2021’s final days as students at DHS in the way it undoubtedly deserves.