GUNNISON—Nearly one year since COVID-19 shut the state down, juniors at Gunnison Valley High went to Junior Prom.
Plans for the event have been in the works since January, when junior class officers voted to go hold it no matter the restrictions, according to Ann-Marie Davis, a teacher and one of eight prom committee members involved.
Attendance at the high school gym needed to stay under 300 (25% capacity) to meet regulations. Instead of limiting those who wanted to see the promenade to four family members per junior, the committee decided to hold two sessions and allow eight family members per junior to attend. To keep tabs on numbers, all tickets had to be purchased in advance.
Only juniors and their dates were allowed to attend. On Monday before prom, each junior was tested for COVID-19. Committee members sanitized seats, doorknobs and railings between sessions.
“They all tested negative. That’s why they were allowed to dance without masks on,” explained Davis.
“We (the junior class advisors, or prom committee) went into it knowing that anything could be changed at any time,” Davis said. And things did end up changing the day before prom.
On Friday morning, March 5, some COVID-19 restrictions were lifted when the transmission rate in Sanpete County was changed from “high” to “moderate.” Lindy Brown, Committee Chair, announced to the student body over the intercom that others besides juniors could now attend the dance and that tickets would be sold at the door. A few couples from other grades ended up coming to the dance, too.
Seniors Garrett Jensen and Sara Blackburn announced the attendees.
This year, the committee decided against choosing a prom king and queen. After the juniors danced and were announced, each was invited to dance with a parent.
Drill Team instructor Mekesha Wanner, along with committee member Gabrielle Malmgren, choreographed and taught the group dance.
“We always wonder if it will happen, and they always do well at the end,” Davis said about the choreographed dance with a laugh.
There was some dancing between sessions and a little afterwards. Still, Prom committee members left for home by 9:30 p.m., the earliest Davis remembers them doing so.
Two sessions ended up being a long time for juniors to be on their feet.
“Most of them were sitting on the floor in the hall before the start of the second session,” Davis said.
Committee members were Lindy Brown, Richard Peterson, Gabrielle Malmgren, Evan Westenskow, Tiffany Baker, Kelly Moysh, Max Sanders and Ann-Marie Davis. Junior chairs were Kaylee Whitlock and Carson Tucker.