The pandemic continues to drive away social traditions, especially for high school seniors. And a few parents are determined to create COVID-19 safe events to help make the class of 2021 feel special.
Megan Himbury, a parent of a Manchester Valley High School senior, wanted to take matters into her own hands. She is part of the Manchester Valley High School class of 2021 Parents Facebook group. She and the other parents in the group are planning a drive-thru brunch at Cape Horn Park Feb. 21 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Eric King, director of high schools, said at a recent Board of Education meeting they will not be able to offer a traditional prom, though he’s confident they can have senior picnic events that would be held outside, possibly in a stadium, with food and activities. “And each of the principals are going to start working with their senior class leadership to look at what they want to do, what is possible,” he said.
“This year, the seniors haven’t really had a senior year,” Himbury said. “They missed out on so many milestones.”
She mentioned homecoming, prom and a senior cruise.
“A group of us came together and decided we’re going to put together some safe activities for them to do.”
She said they will direct traffic for the drive-thru, have everyone stay in their cars, provide treats like donuts and chocolate bombs and have games and raffles where students can win gift cards. It’s “something that makes them feel like they’re actually being acknowledged,” Himbury said.
But it doesn’t stop there.
She said they will also have a scavenger hunt for the first 21 days of March that tells seniors to take a picture with the cow at Chick-fil-A and post it on Instagram, for example. April is still being planned but in May they will have a car parade. She organized one last year when her other child was graduating.
Himbury said if the community wishes to donate for the senior activities, they can send money to her Venmo account, @megan-himbury.
A few principals outlined their celebratory plans for seniors this semester.
Christina Dougherty, principal of South Carroll, said seniors are working with school advisers to order T-shirts for fellow seniors. They also passed out snacks and ordered senior banners that was “very popular with seniors last year.” The principal said the seniors decided the leftover money the class raised will be used for a scholarship and assist a food pantry.
Dougherty said plans for an outdoor picnic are underway and will be held a day the class of 2021 has graduation practice. She said some parents are organizing a prom on their own, and the school is not affiliated with it.
Brian Booz, principal of Century High School, said they do not have anything official on the books yet but they have a handful of options.
“We are hoping to meet with the senior class and senior parents in March to lay out or discuss our options,” he said in an email. “Along with trying to figure out where graduation will take place, we are working on plans for a senior picnic and some other events that may happen in smaller groups.”
Booz said he is not sure what parents are planning, but knows that a few reached out to ask about prom and offer to help the school plan an event.
Michael Brown, principal of Winters Mill, said he cannot say what parents are planning, but that the seniors will be recognized by the school.