BY JAELYN YEAMPIERRE
No one told them prom was gonna be this way.
The rapid spread of coronavirus in South Florida has caused a mass panic throughout the state. The Class of 2020 has been particularly distressed as the cancellation of senior events has become a very likely possibility.
One of the most important events that seniors are still holding out hope for is prom. The dance was set to take place on May 16 at Bahia Mar, a DoubleTree hotel in Fort Lauderdale.
With a rising number of coronavirus cases and the potential for undetected infections, establishments all over the state are taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Representatives from Bahia Mar informed the Class of 2020 sponsors on March 26 that, due to the coronavirus, the venue reservation for prom has been canceled.
“I can’t say that prom is officially canceled but I can say that it will not be taking place at Bahia Mar.”
“I can’t say that prom is officially canceled but I can say that it will not be taking place at Bahia Mar,” Class of 2020 co-sponsor Dr. Claudia Jones said, confirming all other vendors for prom—including the DJ and decorator—have since been canceled.
As of now, Broward County Public Schools has not canceled any high school proms in the district.
The state of Florida itself has been taking precautions such as enforcing a 30-day stay-at-home order. Starting April 8, Floridians are required to stay at home unless pursuing essential services or activities.
“Two weeks ago, I had reached out [to Bahia Mar] asking what the status was because I heard that the hotel would be closing until June 1 and because of that I had to ask for the deposit back,” Jones said. “[Director of Sales and Marketing at Bahia Mar] Steve Green responded to my message on March 26 that business would be postponed until after June 1, which would be post-graduation and wouldn’t work.”
Bahia Mar representatives could not be reached for comment because operations at the hotel are now suspended.
“At this time, the biggest concern is trying to prevent anyone from getting sick and while it’s not what we expected, it does make sense.”
“While it’s disheartening that Bahia Mar can no longer be the venue for our senior prom, I do understand the reasoning behind their decision,” Class of 2020 Vice President Reese Abrahamoff said. “At this time, the biggest concern is trying to prevent anyone from getting sick and while it’s not what we expected, it does make sense.”
Pinterest boards of corsages and updos and non-refundable purchases of evening gowns have been made. Seniors have been waiting four long years to dance the night away and celebrate the end of their high school careers. Now, students have become increasingly uneasy at the thought of a fully canceled prom.
“I … spent a pretty penny on my dress and Camille has a non-returnable policy, so I’m out $500 if there isn’t a decision to reschedule prom or have something as an alternative,” senior Alexis Gargiulo said. “I know some other girls who have already purchased dresses and things of that nature. I’m not sure if they’re returnable or not.”
With many senior events and sports seasons already canceled or postponed, the cancellation of prom would be an especially powerful blow to the senior class.
“This is the first time this has ever happened and we are trying to do our best with figuring out how to fix it, or if it’s even fixable,” Class of 2020 co-sponsor Melissa Cabrera said.
“While thoughtful, rescheduling prom in a venue that isn’t as classy or as nice as Bahia Mar would be saddening to people because it’s another reminder of what we missed out on.”
Seniors are hoping that if students are able to return to CCHS before the end of the school year, that a rescheduled prom or a replacement event could still take place.
“I would love for them to reschedule it. My senior prom is something that I’ve been looking forward to for six years,” Gargiulo said. “I have the perfect guy [boyfriend, senior Maximillian Pernas] and the perfect dress, so rescheduling prom is a win in my book.”
While some seniors are excited about the possibility of still being able to commemorate the end of high school with a prom, others feel as though a change of venue would take away from the elegance of the night.
“The Class of 2020 is already in a state of disappointment. I feel that, while thoughtful, rescheduling prom in a venue that isn’t as classy or as nice as Bahia Mar would be saddening to people because it’s another reminder of what we missed out on,” Abrahamoff said. “I think at a time like this, it’s important for everyone to keep their heads up and hope for the best.”
Photo courtesy of Hilton