On Thursday, April 16, two days before Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida students would not be returning to school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prom was officially canceled amid concerns regarding COVID-19.
MSD Principal Michelle Kefford had notified class of 2020 advisor, Dara Hass, that prom had officially been canceled. This message prompted Hass to notify the Class of 2020 board to release the news to the rest of the senior class via Remind, an app that allows teachers to communicate with their students through text messaging.
“It is tough to have to cancel traditional events many [seniors] look forward to, like prom and grad bash,” Hass said. “However, we need to prioritize health and safety. We need to stay strong and try to make the best of the situation we are in.”
MSD’s prom was originally planned to be held on Saturday, May 12, at The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Tickets were sold for $130 during the flash sale, which was Monday, March 9 through Sunday, March 15, and $145 during the regular sale, which was Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, April 15. Those who have bought prom tickets will be refunded as soon as the class of 2020 board works out the reimbursement process.
As a result of the cancellation of prom, seniors have expressed their opinions; while MSD’s 2020 class understands that canceling prom was decided in order to mitigate the risk of spreading or contracting the coronavirus, many are heartbroken that they will no longer be able to attend one of the most awaited events of their high school experience. Many seniors had been looking forward to prom, as it is one of the last times they will be with their close friends and fellow classmates before they start a new chapter in their life.
“I’m super upset about the cancellation of prom. Throughout high school, it was definitely something I was looking forward to, and had everything ready for the special day,” senior Leah Golberg said. “With all of the events [going on] in the world, I do think canceling prom was the necessary decision. It would not have been safe to be around a multitude of people during this time.”
While trying to stay positive, some seniors have come up with creative ideas to take the place of their prom. Some seniors have plans to celebrate their own prom as soon as it is safe to interact with individuals, while others plan on celebrating via video call platforms such as Zoom or FaceTime. One of those seniors is Madison Schluter, who recently attended a prom via Zoom on Monday, April 20 with her fellow friends.
“While the sadness of not being able to have a normal senior year and do the things that every senior dreams of getting to do will never be truly fulfilled, the Zoom prom was a good distraction from all the craziness going on in the world around us,” Schluter said. “It was as close to a prom as we were given.”
On Saturday, April 18, Principal Michelle Kefford and the class of 2020 board posted a video on the @msdclassof2020 Instagram in order to spread positive messages during these hard times. It was also announced through BECON TV on Wednesday, April 22, that all Broward County Public School class of 2020 graduations will be held virtually between the days of Monday, June 15 and Sunday, June 28.