Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) graduates celebrated their prom in style this year, despite COVID-19 restrictions.
Graduates cruised around town in three separate “heats” on Saturday, June 12, dressed to the nines. This was followed by an afternoon of activities at McLean Mill National Historic Site. Traditionally, grads would gather at one location and form a car parade from there to wherever the prom dance was being held. There was no dance this year, and a large gathering was not permitted under COVID-19 restrictions.
The school’s prom decorating committee started planning events for grads before Christmas 2020, but because of COVID-19, volunteers had to think outside of the box.
“Because we realized they couldn’t have a prom, what we decided to do is incorporate the traditional parade into what would have been their prom,” explained Kristine Mallory, chair of the decorating committee for the 2021 ADSS grad class.
The grads selected an “Enchanted Forest” theme for their prom this year, which led to the idea of using McLean Mill National Historic Site. The site was decorated on Saturday with balloons and twinkling lights as grads arrived. A DJ was on site to provide some tunes, refreshments were handed out and professional photographer Lyndon Cassell was hired to take photos of the grads.
“We wanted to create that ambience of what prom should have been,” Mallory explained. “We wanted to give them that celebration they deserved.”
The grads had some “amazing donations” from the community, said Mallory, including a large donation from San Group.
Volunteers were careful to make sure the event followed all provincial COVID-19 guidelines, with grads separated into smaller groups as they arrived on site at the mill to keep things socially distanced.
This year’s prom also included a memorial for the late Daniel Butt, who was hit by a vehicle while cycling back in 2018. This would have been his graduating year.
The memorial included several art pieces created by other parents and volunteers. Daniel Butt’s parents also rode in all three heats during the grad cruise.
A formal dinner will take place this weekend for the grads, giving them another chance to dress up and celebrate.