For the first time in the school’s history, Nevada High School seniors will attend both prom and graduation in the same weekend — in mid-July.
The unusual confluence comes as a result of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cut the school year short and took away the spring sports season.
While school districts in Story County have worked to develop plans to hold an in-person commencement, many districts have been forced to cancel prom due to the inability to reschedule prior to the end of the school year.
However, Nevada Community School District Superintendent Steve Gray told board members early on that the district would push to reschedule the traditional event at a different time. During the board’s virtual meeting in April, he said cancelling would be “a very last, least desirably option.”
“While high school graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime event for students, prom is also an event that most students only get to experience a couple of times,” Gray said. “Our students have had many experiences taken away this spring due to the pandemic, and those are experiences that provide special memories of high school.
“If we can preserve a small part of that, then we feel a responsibility to make every effort to do so.”
The school district decided to schedule both prom and graduation on the same weekend “in an effort to preserve both events and create clarity in our communication,” Gray said. Separate dates could potentially cause confusion if cancellations were to occur.
“It … allows for a very full and special weekend of celebration,” Gray said.
The response from students and their families has been positive, said Gray and Tori Carsrud, Nevada School Board president.
“I’ve heard lots of positive comments and kudos to our district in rescheduling or postponing the graduation and prom to July” Carsrud said during Monday’s virtual board meeting.
The senior events will kickoff the weekend with prom on Friday, July 10, at Gatherings, followed by graduation on Sunday, July 12, at 2 p.m. in the Nevada High School Fieldhouse. If social distancing guidelines continue past the July dates, the weekend will be rescheduled, with prom taking place Friday, Aug. 7, and graduation on Sunday, Aug. 9.
Prom will be canceled if social distancing guidelines continue past the August date, and graduation will then be held virtually, according to the district.
The prom schedule is:6:45 p.m. Doors open for Grand March.7:3o-8:15 p.m. Grand March at Tope.8:30 -11:30 p.m. Prom at Gatherings.11:30 p.m.-4 a.m. After Prom at Nevada High.
The banquet dinner will not be provided this year, according to the district.
“Procedures for underclassmen and out of town guests will be communicated as the date of Prom approaches,” the district said in a message to parents. “In addition, there will be no charge for underclassmen and out of town guests.”
The last day of learning for seniors will fall on June 3, with final grades due June 5. Transcripts will be sent electronically on June 8, which will be recorded as the official date of graduation, the district said.
“Students will receive diplomas at the communicated makeup graduation ceremony date. In the event of a virtual graduation ceremony, diploma distribution procedures will be communicated at a later date,” the district said.