MAIN PHOTO: A parent volunteer snaps a memory with her son and his date. (Healey photo)
HALIFAX: As graduates walked into the three ballrooms they were assigned on July 19; many got a magical feeling and saw the labour of love put in by seven moms to make their 2021 Prom a reality.
With COVID19 restrictions curtailing regular prom and graduation celebrations to minimal fanfare, parents led by Natasha Wagg spent four months of 2 a.m. nights planning and organizing, then re-organizing and re-organizing what prom, held at the Marriott Halifax Harbourfront, would look like.
Wagg spoke about the work involved.
“It was a labor of love for a while,” said Wagg breathing a huge sigh of relief as 11 p.m. neared and the end of the prom festivities. “That was four months of really, really hard work. I mean, we had committee meetings weekly.
“Part of what makes it challenging is that not only are we trying to keep track of 377 teenagers, but we have to keep in mind all of the COVID-19 protocols and the ticketing process and how everything was really electronic based. It introduced a lot of challenges that we might not have dealt with had it not been in the middle of a pandemic.”
In the end, while the subdued prom had gathering limits and restrictions it had to follow, the graduates attending were very appreciative and knew how lucky they were to have such dedicated volunteer parent organizers to pull off such a feat.
The night included walking towards each of the three ballrooms, having photos snapped with their date, then going to the table group they had been assigned—in tables of 10.
There was even dancing allowed but only within their table bubble and comedians to entertain the graduates.
Students also had their names drawn for prizes, donated by a very supportive Fall River/Beaver Bank community, and a slideshow of many of those graduating from when they were mere littles.
Wagg said the parents of each graduate were incredible with their support.
“We managed to pull this off,” she said.
The group of parents made comments to each other they wouldn’t be able to make their vision become a reality. They did that, and the faces of graduates said all that needed to be said.
“We joked that it was a miracle because we didn’t think it would happen and then it got bumped, which is fine,” said Wagg. “And then we didn’t know if one night or two. And then we got dance floors and we didn’t think we get those. And then we get comedians, and we didn’t think we get those. And then we got sun outside and we thought it was going to be lightning and rain all day.
“It turned out really well.”
She said many of the graduates thanked the parent volunteers for their efforts.
“A lot of them seem very thankful. I don’t think I’ve ever been thanked so much for something in my life,” said Wagg. “Like, so many kids came up to us and just said, I’m so grateful for this. We’re so thankful that you were able to do this. So even if they didn’t stay till the bitter end, I know that they were so happy to have this.”
Wagg said given the last two years that the grads experienced with limitations and school closing then online learning due to COVID-19, the prom gave them a good memory to end their high school years
“It gave them something. They had nothing all year,” she said. “You could tell the minute those kids had music playing, they were on the dance floor before the meal even started. They wanted to dance, dance and they did that.”