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Perfectly planned proms leave local students with memories to last a lifetime

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 3:37 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Proms were paused in 2020 because of COVID-19, but a collaborative effort between students, staff and administrators at Waco and University high schools produced a pair of them this spring, perfectly planned for a pandemic.

A committee made up of students and staff from both schools worked on the details for months.

Waco High held its prom on May 15 on campus while University’s prom was Saturday night at the school.

University High School Senior Class President JC Olvera was part of the committee and was thrilled with the outcome.

“There was a lot of behind the scenes that went into planning both our proms out. Both University and Waco High School came together to come up with a way that we were both able to have a safe and equitable prom. That was our main goal and I believe that we both accomplished those goals.”

The schools offered COVID testing before the proms.

They also required masks at the proms and grouped students into pods of 10.

At University, that meant the students were spread out over three different gyms so they could remain socially distanced.

University counselor Jennifer Serrato was also part of the planning committee.

“We were really excited to host prom this year. Students did a great job at collaborating together from both schools and coming together to figure out the safest way to host such a big event,” Serrato said.

“It’s been quite a year and so students were really excited to work with district leaders and administrators on each campus.”

Serrato was there Saturday helping set up for the event, and she says she was far from alone.

She credits many, including administrators, staff, Junior ROTC cadets and the school’s culinary team for making it happen.

“We had so many student volunteers and teacher volunteers to come out Saturday to help prep for prom,” she said.

“Kids that I hadn’t seen in quite a while, so it was really nice to work with them and get everything ready and situated.”

Olvera said the hard work of everyone did not go unnoticed and was even more appreciated after a year during which just about everything was canceled.

“What I can say from myself and fellow classmates, we’re just extremely grateful that we were given the opportunity to have a prom this year,” Olvera said.

“As you know, last year everything was put to a pause because of COVID. We’re just extremely grateful Waco ISD allowed us to have an event like this.”

“I know these memories will definitely last a lifetime,” Serrato added.

The seniors will have another big event in the coming weeks.

Waco High School will hold its graduation Friday, June 11 and University’s ceremony is Saturday, June 12, both at Waco ISD Stadium.

District officials say both will be held in the evening in hopes of cooler weather and each graduate will be allowed six guests.

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