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Prom or no prom? Schools across the Valley make decisions on whether to host events amid COVID-19

Some parents, students getting creative
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Posted at 6:34 AM, May 12, 2021

One of high school’s most memorable events is prom. This year, amid the pandemic, some schools opted to cancel proms altogether due to the potential for exposure. Instead of missing out on such an important event, students and parents were creative in their efforts to make the special day happen.

“Even if it was masks, social distance, I am OK with that. I’m sure a lot of other teenagers would be OK with that. All the other districts in our area are having a prom,” said Sammy Cristerna who attends Perry High School. He sits on the student body governing board and said to ABC15 that he and his classmates had been planning a prom for months.

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“We basically had the whole prom planned out just in case we were put on the spot, OK we are doing this….but that didn’t happen,” said Cristerna.

The student body group even created a promotional video, but prom was canceled and for students like him, who are in the midst of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, other alternative proms are not an option.

RELATED: Celebrating prom night during a pandemic at Rancho Solano Prep in Scottsdale

“There are other prom events being planned out by parents and students but I won’t be attending,” said Cristerna.

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Jen Alvey is the parent of a high schooler. She says the one thing that upsets her the most is that canceling prom at the school level truly puts disparity and equality to the side. She believes not everyone will attend the smaller-type of proms put together by parents and or students. The uniformity of the school-sponsored prom gave equality to all students.

"My friend's daughter who attends charter school out in Gilbert just went to her prom and looked beautiful. We want every child to have these experiences. They need these experiences,” said Alvey, who referenced the social and emotional component of attending prom.

This past weekend, high school year senior Drew Steele went to a prom put together by his parents and his girlfriend. In total, roughly 50 to 60 students from his high school attended the event.

RELATED: Chandler Unified School District cancels prom, parents plan their own

“It was actually very fun! I was glad I got to experience at least one prom,” said Steele.

For Sammy Cristerna, he is fortunate he has his senior prom to look forward to next year. Sammy is a junior and although he has one more year in high school left, he is sad for the seniors who missed out this year.

"I think prom is just something to look forward to and something fun, I think we stress about getting Straight A's and getting into college, and prom and homecoming are those events that we will remember for the rest of our lives,” added Cristerna.

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