Students reflect on pandemic prom experience


Jaylianna Diaz

Students gather at the Athletic park bandshell in order to celebrate the 2021 NHS prom.

Lucy Buller, Reporter

On May 1, Newton High School hosted Prom for the first time in two years. This event looked much different than in years past in more ways than just one. Changes in location, food, COVID-19 protocols and more made for a Prom like no other. For many seniors, this year’s event was their only Prom after the 2020 Prom was cancelled as the county was on a stay-at-home order. 

Senior Tryston Mitchell was invited to Prom his sophomore year so though it was not his first Prom, it looked very different than Prom in 2019. Mitchell preferred the food trucks this year to the normal food tables, but wishes that there was valet parking like past Proms. 

“I do not know whether it was the school speakers or the DJ’s personal speakers, but I had danced on the stage for a while and I was having trouble hearing it. As soon as I was on the other side, the music almost went away,” Mitchell said. “I think the amount of food was good, I was barely able to get one of each free thing and still dance.”

Mitchell added that he did not get into the dance until 9 p.m. due to the long entrance line and was unhappy with the shortened amount of time of the event. He suggested having Prom either start sooner or end later so that everyone could be at the dance for a longer period of time. Mitchell enjoyed the Prom but thinks that planning the event outdoors would be a challenge in future years due to unknown weather circumstances. However, junior Bryttan Adams thinks that continuing to have Prom outdoors is a better idea than moving back indoors. 

“I really liked having Prom outdoors this year. It was so nice being able to step away and cool off after dancing for a while,” Adams said. “Whether or not masks are required next year does not change my opinion. I thought being outside was much nicer than in the gym, especially if there are more decorations by the trees instead of just on the stage.”

One of the bigger complaints surrounding Prom was the music. Many students had issues with the music being played and the DJ’s speakers being too quiet. The juniors on student council each had an assignment for planning Prom and junior Jennifer Rubio was asked to create the music playlist. 

“The others on the Prom committee and I had the idea of posting ‘send song suggestions for Prom’ on our social media. I sent out a Google form for those who did not have social media. At first, I just added the songs that were suggested and then throughout the week, I would edit it. The DJ played a few songs that were on the playlist such as Bricks, Tongue Tied and Lucid Dreams, but most of them were songs that I did not put on,” Rubio said. “I had shown several people the playlist that was made and they seemed to really enjoy it but it did not turn out like I thought.”

Out of 86 students surveyed, 62 had complaints about the music played. For future Proms, Rubio suggested having direct communication with the DJ to be more clear about what songs the students were interested in hearing. 69% of the students surveyed liked the food trucks at this year’s Prom more than the normal food tables, and 55% enjoyed the outdoor dance as opposed to the traditional NHS Prom in Ravenscroft gym. Senior Mackenzie Glasmann was a part of the 55% that enjoyed the openness of being outdoors. 

“I think the Prom committee should make an effort to have an outdoor Prom if we have appropriate weather for it,” Glasmann said. “There was a lot of space for people to go and eat without conflicting with the dance floor.”

Glasmann and Adams agree that Prom should continue to be hosted outdoors, but Adams prefers that the football lights are not put to use and instead smaller lights are used like they were for the ending part of this year’s dance. The football lights were on at the start of Prom but after complaints about the bright lighting, they were quickly turned off leaving the small string lights as the only source of light. 

“The string lights created a nice vibe, they were pretty dim and the yellow light was much nicer than the bright white light from the football lights. The football lights made it feel awkward because they were just so bright and for a decent portion of the dance, no one was dancing,” Adams said. “I think a big part of that was because no one wants to dance when other people can see them that well.”