Donned in their gowns and tuxedos Saturday evening, Clear Creek High School junior Kaleigh Kittelberger and her friends were at a restaurant when people asked whether they were going to a mock prom. …
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Donned in their gowns and tuxedos Saturday evening, Clear Creek High School junior Kaleigh Kittelberger and her friends were at a restaurant when people asked whether they were going to a mock prom.
No, Kittelberger and her friends replied. They were going to a real one.
High schools across the Front Range took different approaches to prom this year, after last year’s were canceled during the initial COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Some area schools didn’t have one at all this spring and some had modified events but not a formal prom.
But, Clear Creek High School and others — particularly smaller schools — went ahead with their plans.
On Saturday night, more than 100 CCHS juniors, seniors and guests gathered at Westminster’s Butterfly Pavilion. Aside from mandatory masks and bottles of hand sanitizer everywhere, it was fairly normal.
The night was full of group photos and dance circles, high-heels and bowties, corsages and boutonnières, and everything else that’s expected at prom — with a few strange additions.
The butterflies were a little unusual, as were the other insect exhibits and interactive displays at the Butterfly Pavilion. But, that just made the night all the more enjoyable, students explained.
“When we walked in, the first thing we did was go to the butterfly pavilion,” senior Taryn Howard said. “… It’s very beautiful, and the event set-up is so nice.”
Howard and fellow senior Luna Weaver both said they were extremely grateful to have a prom this year after 2020’s was canceled.
“I wasn’t sure it was going to happen,” Howard continued.
And with only seven school days left for the seniors, it’s one of the last opportunities for the junior and senior classes to see each other, Weaver explained.
Plus, the students attending online school were invited as well, Howard and Kittelberger said, making it the first time everyone’s seen each other in person all year.
Prom is certainly better than homecoming, juniors Madison Broadway, Camden Fahnline and Martin Khlop said; it’s the one opportunity to dress formally and have a school dance at an outside venue, oftentimes a fun one like the Butterfly Pavilion.
“It’s not every day you get to dress up in fancy clothes,” Khlop said. “High school would be boring without events like this.”
Fahnline pondered that perhaps prom is too mythologized in pop culture. After all, it often serves as the pivotal setting for many teen rom-coms and coming-of-age movies. So, while it is an important high school experience, maybe it’s not as important as young people have been led to believe, he said.
Khlop even described how he was more excited for After Prom at Arvada’s Skate City.
However, the significance seems to hit a little differently for those who never had a prom.
Josh Currie, Broadway’s date who was a CCHS senior last year, commented: “COVID threw a wrench in everything, so it’s nice to have a normal prom.”
Liza Cohen, who graduated CCHS last year and now attends the University of Denver, was thankful her friends invited her back.
After she and her classmates missed all their end-of-year events, such as Senior Skip Day, Saturday night felt like her second chance at senior prom.
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