The coronavirus pandemic has canceled the McMinn County High School prom, but a few parents are working to revive it.
According to one of the organizers of the prom, Michelle Chrisman, parents were notified by the school board last week of their decision to cancel prom this year due to liability reasons.
“Many of us thought that with it being two weeks out that we would be having it,” said Chrisman. “Many of us had already done alterations on dresses, bought dresses, bought accessories, rented tuxes, the whole nine yards, so a few of us got together and decided that we had to pull this off, so that is what we started doing.”
The group of parents involved in the project started small with around two or three people and has grown to around 50 supporters.
“This is their senior year and I can’t imagine not having a prom,” stated Chrisman.
She mentioned that they currently plan to host the prom on July 10 from 7-11 p.m. at the National Guard Armory.
“The armory has graciously donated their facility and Let The Music Play has offered his services,” said Chrisman. “We are also selling tickets for $10 and any of the money left over will be donated to the National Guard Armory because they help out in the community and let us use their facility for free, so we feel that it is the right thing to do.”
Tickets were sold in person earlier this week in front of Dunham Sports in Athens.
Tickets are required to enter the prom. Those who are interested in purchasing a ticket may follow their Facebook page at McMinn County Prom for updated information as to where they will sell tickets in-person or send a message through the page to express interest.
Interested parties can also text Chrisman at 423-381-7644.
Anyone interested in donating supplies or decorations to the prom may do so by contacting the Facebook page or texting the number above.
“We post everything on that page from the decorations we bought to where the tickets will be sold,” said Chrisman. “We want to make sure everyone has a chance to attend.”
Student attendance will not be limited to those eligible to participate in prom, unlike school sponsored proms.
Those who do attend will have to sign a waiver stating that they will not hold anyone associated with the prom accountable should they get sick.
“We will do temperature checks at the door, we will have our own food servers with personal protective equipment, masks are optional for the students,” Chrisman stated.
Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the waiver and nobody over 20 may participate in the prom.
No weapons will be allowed on the premises and those who leave the prom will not be allowed back in.
“The National Guard is going to be helping us with security just to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that it is a fun night for everybody,” she said.
The theme for the prom will follow what the students had previously selected for their school sponsored event — the 1920s.
“We are not requesting formal attire like the last venue did,” Chrisman stated. “We ask that boys just wear a shirt and tie and girls just wear a church dress if that is all they have.”
She stated that they are also trying to reach people who can help supply students with clothes to wear should they need any.
“I think the parents are super excited for this because we brought our kids home back in March and didn’t know if or when they would get to go back to school,” Chrisman expressed. “We didn’t know the COVID situation would affect our children in the way it did so it is exciting to be able to give this to them and it is exciting to see the community come together too because (community support) happens during tragedy. So this is kind of neat that this is a celebration and everybody is coming together the way they are and helping out ... this is what I love about being in a small town.”