Mamma Mia, it’s prom again! Senior class attends ‘unconventional’ prom celebration

Seniors+Mackenzie+Turner%2C+Lola+Lamberg%2C+Amelia+Stone+and+Ava+Salomon+pose+for+a+photo+at+the+rose+backdropped+photo+booth+on+May+1+during+the+evening+senior+prom+celebration.+The+booth%2C+set-up+at%C2%A0Will+Geer+Theatricum+Botanicum%2C+%22created+a+really+fun+atmosphere+that+everyone+was+enjoying..+and+it+was+a+place+to+connect%2C%22+fitness+and+wellness+teacher+Dani+LeNoir+said.

Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

Seniors Mackenzie Turner, Lola Lamberg, Amelia Stone and Ava Salomon pose for a photo at the rose backdropped photo booth on May 1 during the evening senior prom celebration. The booth, set-up at Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, “created a really fun atmosphere that everyone was enjoying.. and it was a place to connect,” fitness and wellness teacher Dani LeNoir said.

By Greta Irvine, Staff Reporter

Prom: the U.S.-born tradition featured prominently in movies such as “Mean Girls” and “Grease,” can be identified by the characteristically adorned gym thronged by suits and dresses, dancing masses, roaring music, crowned queens and kings and teacher chaperones.

Undeterred by prom norms and a pandemic, on May 1, the senior class attended an avant-garde prom featuring a photo booth, inflatable movie screen, DJ and an array of food and goodies all within the walls, (or lack thereof) of the botanical gardens at Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

“The environment reminded me of a cross between prom and Fall Outing — very woodsy and very pretty,” fitness and wellness teacher Dani LeNoir said, who chaperoned the event last Saturday. “Because it was a very intimate space, and even though people were distancing, there was never a long period in which people weren’t connecting.”

While straying from a traditional prom in location and activities, the grade upheld the custom of dressing up in formal wear and arrived at the botanicum in both suits and dresses.  

The highlight of the night was getting dressed up and seeing everyone else in my grade with their outfits was really sweet,” senior Jessica Tuchin said. “It’s been a year of staying at home so this was the first time I’ve gotten formally dressed in a while … Keeping that aspect of prom was a special experience.” 

Upon arrival at 7 p.m., the seniors gathered in an amphitheater embellished with balloons and decorations in accordance with the grade’s pink theme. For the Class of 2021, this was their first time attending an Archer prom, as the pandemic hampered last year’s celebration. LeNoir noted the atmosphere of excitement when the night began.

I was grateful to spend time with people I hadn’t seen in so long.”

— Tove Jegéus

“As soon as everyone walked in, they were pumping each other up like ‘Oh my god you look so good, I love your outfit,’ and people were coordinating and matching,” LeNoir said. “There was just a lot of fun being had.”

After initial welcomes, the seniors had time to talk among each other, listen and dance to music, and take photos at the photo booth decorated with a white rose background. Following this was the main event of the night; In possession of movie theater candy and popcorn as well as fuzzy blankets, the grade gathered to watch the movie ‘”Mamma Mia,” which was projected onto the inflatable screen.

“We had initially planned to do a drive-in movie when we were not sure we could plan a more conventional prom,” Executive Board member Tove Jegéus, who helped plan the event, said. “So when they changed the set-up, we had to think of things that we thought were going to be fun to do which is why we chose a movie like ‘Mamma Mia’ where everyone could sing along. Although it wasn’t a normal prom, I feel like the movie added a whole other element to the night that people enjoyed.”

I think it was a fantastic night and it was awesome that we were able to have it in person. ”

— Jessica Tuchin

Adorning outfits with masks and being instructed to remain 6 feet apart impacted physical interaction, but senior Stella Chuck noted that connection was not lost among peers. 

“I was grateful to be able to have the experience where I got to see everyone in one place at the same time given the circumstances. I think that that was the first time the entire grade had been together in such a small setting, so it was good to really have time set aside for connecting with everyone,” Chuck said. “I think we’ve missed out on a lot of time together, and I think it’s important to be together as much as possible before we graduate.”

As the school year comes to a close for the senior class, in-person connection has become all the more valuable, Tuchin said. 

“It was kind of the last time that we are able to all get together alone as a grade and it was just nice because our grade has been so separated due to the coronavirus  — we haven’t really had that bonding that comes with being in the hallways, classes and at lunch together until recently, so it was nice to just get back in the swing of things and chat with people that you might not have classes or see regularly,” Tuchin said. “Of course this prom had to be different than it’s been in years past, but it’s definitely a night I’m going to remember.”