Prom preview
Shelby High School is preparing for its prom that’s set for Saturday, May 1. This year’s event is a milestone event, which will have a variety of features.

SHELBY — Shelby High School is preparing for a major event — the school’s prom, which on Saturday, May 1 will mark a milestone occasion for all involved.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year’s Shelby High School prom did not occur. And neither did a Homecoming dance this past fall. That means this year’s 2021 prom will take on even more significance.

“I think we are all just really excited that we get to have an opportunity,” said Jadyn McPherson, a senior at Shelby High School and a member of the Prom Committee. “We missed out on quite a bit this year. It’s nice to have some normalcy and feel like we have something.”

Kelly Jung, family and consumer sciences teacher at Shelby High School, is serving as adviser for the prom.

“Grand March starts at 7, the dance will start at 8 to 10:30,” she said of the Saturday evening events. “The students will be willing wearing masks and be told to remain socially distant as much as they can throughout the dance.”

In explaining this, Jung referenced guidance from the state.

“If they have their mask on, they are allowed to be closer to each other,” Jung said of prom-goers. “The socially distance part is if they are eating or drinking at their tables. We’ll do the best we can, and they will, as well. We’ll give them a talk that you need to be respectful and use your best judgment in your actions throughout the dance to be respectful of other people.”

McPherson was asked about prom protocols during the pandemic era.

“I think that we’re all just grateful to have what we do have,” she said. “It would be amazing to not wear masks or social-distance, but that’s not how the world is right now. We have to take into consideration people’s health and people’s safety.”

“I completely agree with wearing masks,” McPherson said. “I think it’s really good.”

She added: “It’s just a little different than how things normally are, but we always make the best out of things. I am pretty excited.”

McPherson recalled that planning began earlier this year.

“I think we started talking at the start of February about prom and coming up ideas, the theme,” she said in citing some examples of what was discussed.  

The prom tickets are $5 each. “They are all going to receive a gift bag with food and drinks because we can’t be serving it,” Jung said. “They are all going to receive some snacks that they can enjoy throughout the dance from Sweet Dreams bakery.”

Other items also are being made for the students to enjoy, including chocolate-covered pretzels in addition to chips and candy.

Jung has heard that most students plan to go out for dinner prior to the prom, including in the Mansfield and Ontario areas. “My students who I’ve had in class, I’ve encouraged them to definitely go (to dinner) early, trying to eat around 4:30,” Jung said. “By the time they get in out and out and back to Shelby.”

Prom organizers are expecting between 150 and 180, which they would consider a “great turnout,” Jung said, adding that prom ticket sales began April 26.

Due to the social-distancing, this year’s prom is open to seniors only. “We wanted to keep as much available space as possible,” Jung said. “We are having it in the main gym, which is a very large space.”

Seniors, however, can bring an underclass member as a date, she said.

Other activities will be available at the dance, too.
“We are going to have corn hole and some other games for students who maybe dancing isn’t their thing or they just need a break,” Jung said.

Raffles also are planned. “The police department donated a TV to raffle off,” Jung said. “East of Chicago and Gionino's (pizza) donated coupons to raffle off, and Shelby Mutual Insurance gave us money towards gift cards.”

Jung was asked about a theme for this year’s prom.

“Neon is kind of a theme, glow-in-the dark,” she said. “We have a lot of black lights, neon, bright colors.”

A DJ, Ed Gutchall, is to be on-hand to provide music.

For people are who are not familiar with the details, the Grand March was explained by Jung.

“For Grand March, students usually try to get a nicer vehicle or car and they pull up,” she said. “This year, it will be in front of the school. We have a red carpet. They will walk up, and we’ll announce each of the students’ names as to who they are and who they are escorted by.”

“Seniors are given the option to leave a little message about maybe their favorite memory or maybe what their future plans are,” Jung said. “One of our teachers will be reading that off, the information about the students.”

In addition, teachers and some of their spouses are going to help park the students’ cars.

Jung further previewed the Grand March's setting.

“A lot of families and other students, underclassmen, will come with chairs and set up out in front of the school and watch the Grand March,” she said. “It is a nice community event.”

“All parents and community members are welcome for Grand March,” Jung added. “The weather looks good so it doesn’t look like we’ll have it moved indoors…It is going to be an awesome great time. I can’t wait.”

Prom-goers will be dressed in formalwear, including prom dresses and tuxedos or in dress slacks and a nice shirt. “Mainly, it’s all formal,” Jung said. 
Enthusiasm for the prom is building as the big evening approaches.

“I really wanted to give them what they deserved because they really got shorted a lot this year of things that they normally would get as seniors that just isn’t possible with what we're going through right now,” Jung said in reference to coronavirus-related issues.

“We want to give them a good last hurrah, and hopefully next year, we can go back to a junior-senior prom and get back to normal,” Jung added.

She noted that in the past several years, the prom traditionally was held at the Kehoe Center.
“Space-wise, the room at the Kehoe Center is not being enough,” Jung said. “We could only have about 50 people with the capacity recommended by the state. That is why we decided to hold it at the school…The capacity is much larger in that (gym) space.”

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