Prom is one of the most memorable experiences in high school, so when the pandemic made a traditional prom unlikely, the Patchogue-Medford High School Class of 2021 and their advisor, Kristina Davidson, had to get creative.
Starting in November, Davidson and the senior class began planning out a way to have prom while following COVID-19 guidelines. What they came up with is a plan that benefits both the students and the community.
According to Maddie Frascogna, student secretary of the Class of 2021 at Patchogue-Medford High School and student representative of the board of education, the choice to develop a prom, despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, came from a sense of empathy for her fellow classmates who have lost so much during the pandemic.
“It’s something to look forward to because we’ve had so much taken away from us,” she said. “It’s exciting to see everybody looking forward to something.”
Even though the prom this year will be quite different from past years, Frascogna thinks it will be equally as memorable.
“It’s definitely something that we will never forget,” she added. “Especially during such a sad time.”
After six months of planning, students and staff hope to create a positive memory in the midst of a difficult year. The prom, currently set for June 21, will begin with a mocktail hour in Medford, where students will be able to take professional photos, and prepackaged appetizers will be available. There will also be live music for about an hour before the class is shuttled to their next destination – main street in Patchogue, for outdoor dining.
“We were very limited; we couldn’t do a hall. We have 500 to 600 students; it wouldn’t have happened,” said Davidson.
After brainstorming with assistant principal Garrett Comanzo and the other Class of 2021 advisor Carrie Pickford, they decided to design a prom that would keep the students safe and benefit the Patchogue-Medford community.
Although Long Islanders are starting to ramp up vaccinations, there is still a need for safety precautions during the prom. The prom organizers have built in a number of safety measures and are continuously trying to figure out how to have all the students stay safe.
If students decide to dance during the event, they can only dance with the group they are dining with. Groups are decided by students, but are designed to be small to limit any risk of infection. In compliance with COVID guidelines, parties of students who are dining together can dance as long as they are allotted at least 36 square feet. As the situation in the state evolves, Davidson and her student officials will accommodate any added measures to ensure complete safety by staying in contact with state and local officials.