CINCINNATI — This time last year, senior classes across the country heard the words canceled or postponed for almost every monumental senior event. Now that COVID-19 cases are decreasing and more people are getting vaccinated, schools in Ohio are allowed to have prom.
Not all schools have decided if or how they will celebrate this year, but Seton High School in West Price Hill has everything set in stone. School administrators dressed in '80s style prom dresses to give their seniors the good news on Friday.
“We had a hard time even getting the words out. We got so choked up,” said Kathy Allen Ciarla, president at Seton High School. “Looking out at our seniors in our theater in their masks and with these big eyes looking up at us. I think they knew what was coming.”
Ciarla said her daughter missed her senior prom last year. She said staff wanted to make sure more students didn't have to miss out this time around.
“These girls have worked so hard. We have been in-person all year and they have been so dedicated to their studies but they're missing out on so many of these amazing opportunities that are crucial for their development and for their socialization. They need these experiences,” Ciarla said.
In return, the students created a special poster to thank staff for making prom happen.
But prom is more than just a meaningful experience for juniors and seniors. Sean Kelley is the manager at Mr. Tuxedo in Clifton Heights. He said his tuxedo rental business took a big hit in 2020.
“Last year there were not proms whatsoever,” Kelley said. “Proms are a big part of the business, so to be able to have even a part of it back is helpful.”
Kelley said he's been calling schools across the area to ask about their plans for prom. Most are still deciding, including Cincinnati Public Schools.
“Something is better than nothing as far as I'm concerned,” Kelley said. “We're definitely looking forward to having the kids back in the store.”
Schools in Indiana and Kentucky are allowed to hold prom for students, but many are still weighing their options as the vaccine rollout continues in the Tri-State.