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This year’s prom was a labor of love, commitment


Special to The Press

Planning a prom is always a project, but for the Class of 2021, it was made ever more complicated by the pandemic.

That it was not going to be orchestrated by the high school was hurdle No. 1, and that was a very big hurdle in itself.

“When it was announced the restrictions in place would prevent the school from sponsoring a traditional prom, Mr. Zimmerman suggested there might be community members who would want to host a prom for us,” explained Reagan Hernandez, class president.

“At the time we booked it, we needed to secure a venue that was outdoors. Justin Smith (Old Homestead Golf Club) was very generous and worked with us so that we could hold a prom.

“We are very lucky to have such a beautiful venue right across the street from the high school. It is a perfect venue - picturesque and it has local history.”

Despite the changing environment due to COVID-19, Hernandez and class Secretary Elizabeth Leiser banded together, determined to create a memorable event.

“Elizabeth and I used a remind system to put out surveys on things like theme and colors so we could include class input,” said Hernandez.

That’s when parents Karen Leiser and Sheri Hernandez decided to step in. On the night of the prom, a beaming Karen Leiser was more than pleased with the result.

“This is a beautiful place,” she said. “We’re lucky to have it in this community.”

The two class officers also felt lucky.

“Our moms were the ones who worked with Michelle Smeltz (mom of classmate Brandon) at Olde Homestead to secure the venue,” said Reagan Hernandez.

“Our parents put messages on the two senior group Facebook pages asking for help and communicating details about the prom, but most of the information was sent through the remind.”

The evening was a culmination of work, planning and generosity.

“A family member from the Class of ’21 donated DJ services,” said Sheri Hernandez. “We had great support from other parents in the community and class with offers to help.”

On top of keeping the lines of communication open, the two officers had to keep COVID-19 restrictions in mind.

“We followed all the CDC guidelines so that the event would be safe for everyone to enjoy,” said Elizabeth Leiser.

“To make the event more COVID friendly, we are using stations for food that will have servers and masks are recommended,” she explained, before the event. “The venue is also very spacious so we are hoping people will be moving around and spread out.”

“We had so many community members and parents asking how they could help,” said Reagan Hernandez.

“Mr. Golas, father of our classmate, Brandon, volunteered his services as DJ. Parents donated funds toward the photo booth, favors, decorations, and flowers, and helped with check in.”

Athletic Director Jason Zimmerman helped set up the ticket sales system.

The event brought the best of everyone forward.

“While we were coordinating, it is really Elizabeth and Reagan who have undertaken the planning,” said Sheri Hernandez. “They enlisted the help of their classmates from the very beginning and asked for suggestions around theme, colors, etc. and]were involved with all of the planning and decisions around décor, set up and menu.

“We had great support from other parents in the community and class with offers to help.

“We are fortunate to have such an incredible outdoor event venue in our backyard, and Olde Homestead has been extremely generous and accommodating.”

Karen Leiser was part of a cadre of parents welcoming their children in all their finery to the event. As the recent graduates approached the venue, there were smiles all around.

“We have worked so diligently to make sure everything is the best it can possibly be and we hope this weekend will make up for the difficulties we have faced this year,” said Elizabeth Leiser, just days before the prom.

“We want to express our love and appreciation for our moms who helped us put this together,” said Reagan Hernandez. “Without them and the help of everyone who volunteered time and resources, we would not have had such an incredible farewell event.”

Anticipation was high coming into the weekend.

“I am extremely excited for the upcoming weekend. I think it’s wonderful that we can have all of these events and finally be together with all of our classmates after this challenging year,” said Elizabeth Leiser. “These are events we have waited for all of our lives, so the weekend is a huge deal for everyone.”

After hours of planning and work, Class of 2021 President Reagan Hernandez was finally able to enjoy the prom accompanied by Noah Smargiassi. “I'm excited to be here,” she said. PRESS PHOTO BY ANNA GILGOFF
Class of 2021 Secretary Elizabeth Leiser saw her vision come true and she was ready to share it with her date Richard Rudolph. She had only one word to describe the venue: “perfect.” PRESS PHOTO BY ANNA GILGOFF