EDITORIAL: A prom night to remember, for the wrong reasons

Everyone knows that senior prom is the most highly anticipated night of one’s high school experience. The location for senior prom is better than that of junior prom, girls’ dresses are fancier, and the ability to take a limo makes the event much more lavish. Plus, the possibilities for after prom plans are endless.

At least they used to be.

According to the Massapequa School District calendar, senior prom will be held on Saturday, June 21, which is the night before graduation day. Because of the sudden schedule change, students essentially have no time between prom and graduation, causing distress among concerned seniors.

Students should take comfort in knowing that the school district did not create this situation intentionally. The district has always held graduation the Monday after the last day of school at Hofstra University. This year, however, the last day of school is June 27, as mandated by New York State.

If graduation were to be held on June 30 (the first Monday after the last day of school) at Hofstra University, there would be major issues because Hofstra’s summer camps would have already begun. The district attempted to grab the previous Monday for the graduation date, but by that point, all of Hofstra’s available spots were filled, according to Massapequa High School Principal Dr. Barbara Williams.

It’s natural for one to wonder why the district did not look for a venue other than Hofstra to host graduation. However, Hofstra is the ideal location for graduation simply because of the large size of the senior class. Several years ago, graduation took place in the gym of Farmingdale State University. Due to its small size and lack of air conditioning, the district decided to hold graduation at Hofstra.

“There really isn’t another venue that’s local to us that would be able to accommodate a class [our] size,” Dr. Williams said.

Since Massapequa only recently started using Hofstra as its graduation location, other schools had seniority over MHS when it came time to select a date. District administrators felt that Sunday, June 22 was the next-best option.

Prom has always been held before graduation; it’s a practice that cannot be changed. In fact, prom was already booked for Friday, June 27 at Villa Lombardi’s before the district realized that Hofstra would not be able to host our graduation on its intended date. By the time the new graduation date had been established, the Friday slot for prom had already been filled at Villa Lombardi’s. Saturday, June 21 really was the only available date for graduation.

Regardless of the fact that this situation could not be avoided, seniors have the right to express their opinions about the matter. And for the most part, seniors are quite unhappy.

“I feel like this decision has deprived students of our last opportunity to have fun with our friends,” senior Kelly McNeice said. “Our memories are now limited to only prom rather than the usual last amusement park trip or camp outing involved with after prom.”

Not only are they annoyed with the lack of after prom plans, seniors are worried that they won’t have any energy for one of the most important days of their lives. “Everyone will be exhausted and run down the morning of graduation because of prom,” senior Jennifer Enochs said. “Making graduation the day after prom will probably increase the chances of some people just not showing up to graduation.”

A practical solution to this problem is to simply wait until the following weekend to have after prom plans. But, it wouldn’t even feel like after prom anymore if it were a whole week later. Doing something immediately following prom makes the night much more special.

But again, seniors should remember that the district is on our side. “I understand that kids are upset because now there’s no after prom piece, and if there is, it has to be somewhat limiting to what recent classes had been able to experience because of the nature of the scheduling,” Dr. Williams said.

So, we may not get the opportunity to go to Montauk or Jersey Shore the night of prom. We may show up to graduation the following day feeling slightly lethargic. At this point, we just have to accept the fact that there was no other alternative.

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