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Herriman Journal

High school students excited, grateful to finally get a prom

Apr 13, 2021 01:36PM ● By Jet Burnham

These spirit week posters will encourage school spirit in the week leading up to prom weekend. (Photo courtesy of Kierstin Hoonaker.)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

After a year of no school dances, high school students have finally been given permission to hold a prom.

“We've had numerous students reach out to us, begging for some semblance of normalcy,” Jordan Board of Education President Bryce Dunford said. “They just don't want school to end and have been denied everything that many of us remember when we think of our school years. Dances are an important part of school. They create a lasting memory of what school was and how you felt about it.”

Based on the success of the test-to-stay protocols that have been used to keep schools and sports activities open, the board voted to allow high schools to hold a prom and a senior dinner dance. To attend, students must test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the dance and wear a mask.

The news was met by Herriman High School student body officers with jumping, screaming and cheering.

“We just couldn't believe that it was actually happening,” Peyton Bisquera, junior class service officer said. “We just haven't been able to do much as a school this year because of COVID restrictions. So we are excited that we were able to actually hold an event where we could all be together and create some normalcy for this year.”

HHS junior class President Peyton Adams said SBOs were eager to have an event to plan.

“It's been hard because we haven't had much to look forward to,” she said. “We went to having a dance almost every month of the school year to not having anything at all. I think it kind of discourages our spirits, because being able to have a dance brings the school together, and it gives everybody something to look forward to. It's kind of hard just to come to school day to day just to come to school.”

Mountain Ridge High School junior class President Kierstin Hoonaker was one of many students who were skeptical about the news.

“I just didn't believe it at first because I'd heard ‘no’ so many times,” she said.

Students have been trying to find a way to safely hold a school dance all year. MRHS Principal Michael Kochevar said dances are the school activity that students have missed the most this year.

“I think it’s important for these types of activities to take place because it allows students to get to know others outside of school, it creates the memories that students will remember and it allows them to blow off some steam and act a little crazy,” he said.

This will be Mountain Ridge High School’s first prom. Last year’s inaugural prom was cancelled when schools were closed two weeks before it was scheduled.

MRHS junior class Vice President Taya Tenney said not being able to have a dance this year has prevented students from feeling a social or emotional connection to each other or a sense of school pride that usually develops through dances and other big, unifying school events that haven’t happened this year. She is excited to be one of the five junior class officers planning junior prom, which will be her first high school dance.

“I'm most excited to just see everyone have a good time and to see all of our ideas come together,” she said. “We've been waiting so long to be able to do something that you would see in a normal year. Everyone is just so excited and grateful to have this opportunity.”

The lack of dances has been a financial burden for MRHS SBOs. Normally, proceeds from school dances fund activities for the following year. Being a new school for the 2019–20 year, they spent money on events with the expectation that they’d earn the money back. Kiersten said they were depending on the proceeds from last year’s prom to dig them out of their hole. However, because they only had a few dances last year before everything was cancelled, their budget has been stretched all year.

“We've dug a little bit deeper into that hole, and we're just hoping that prom will completely pull us out, and then we'll be able to continue, out of the hole, for the rest of our dances and events,” she said.

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