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Jefferson City seniors organize private prom after school district cancels event


Jefferson City High School seniors have organized their own prom after the school district officially canceled the event last week.

On Friday, Jefferson City Principal Bob James sent a letter to students and parents announcing another delay in graduation ceremonies and the cancellation of prom.

"Unfortunately, holding a JCHS Prom (which is typically attended by 500-700 students) has proven impossible while adhering to similar safeguards," James said in the release. "We share your disappointment in the loss of this milestone event for our students, families, and our community; we will truly miss creating the lifelong memories associated with this special night."

That state of Missouri reopened social distancing guidelines on Tuesday, June 16, allowing larger gatherings and relaxed restrictions.

Seniors like Lauren Hackman and her friends did not want to miss out on the prom experience.

"We actually started planning the prom about two days before it actually got canceled, so either way we were going to have a prom, whether it was through school or through us," Hackman said.

The senior and four friends decided to put together their own prom, with the help of their parents.

The event will be held at The Millbottom in Jefferson City on June 30. It's open to all Jefferson City seniors. The dance will have parent chaperones, organizers said.

The group has already come up with some safety precautions for the event.

"We're obviously not requiring masks. It's a prom, people will be dancing, and it will be kind of hard to wear one," Hackman said. "We will have hand sanitizer at the door. We will not allow people to come in and out of the building, once you are in, you have to stay in. You can not leave."

Hackman said the most important guideline is a simple one.

"We're saying if you have any symptoms, if you've been sick or you've been travelling, to not come, just out of respect for everyone else," she said.

Overall, the senior said she wants to make the prom as normal as possible, after everything they've been through this year.

"I just hope we get some closure, so we can finish our senior year all around each other," Hackman said.

"Even if the graduation does get canceled, this will still help. It will get all of us together one more time, that way we can all have our last few moments of being Jays," said Carson Miller, another organizer of the prom.

Jefferson City High School has not canceled its graduation ceremony but has delayed the event multiple times.

The high school's next proposed date fora graduation ceremony is July 31. School leaders say they hope to have one large ceremony for the entire class, but is preparing for the smaller ceremonies if needed.

The seniors have already had 100 people RSVP to the private prom, but did say if someone in the senior class is not comfortable going, don't push yourself.

"If you don't want to come you don't have to," said Ryann Schenewerk, an organizer of the prom. "You can come if you want to, but if you want to have your own prom that's great. We started this originally because we all loved going to dances and wanted to have a prom, so we made it for us and everyone else, but it's not really the (school's) prom."

Cole / Education / Jefferson City / Jefferson City Public Schools / News / Top Stories

Nathalie Jones


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