DOUGLAS — Douglas High School students were provided with a memorable experience Saturday as the school held what is believed to be its first outdoor prom.
The theme of this year’s prom was “Graceful Grove” and while the official outdoor decorating did not begin until early Saturday morning, the behind the scenes work began weeks ago.
The prom was held on the front lawn of Douglas High School. Event organizers report that 150 tickets were sold for the event and all ticket holders showed up. Albert Young and Ana Hill, DHS graduates and longtime DUSD employees, said to their knowledge this was Douglas High School’s first outdoor prom.
Because of COVID-19, social distancing was encouraged and face coverings were required.
Those requirements did not dampen the spirits, however, as everyone who attended the event stated this was a prom they would always remember.
Gehrig Duarte and Jackie Pena were crowned the prom’s king and queen.
Duarte, who is the student council president, said to have a prom like this made his senior year more special.
“This was really cool,” he said. “I have to admit coming in I wasn’t sure what to expect but after seeing what the junior class pulled off, it was great. It was nice, the weather cooperated. The lights were beautiful. It was a great evening.”
He admitted having now experienced indoor as well as an outdoor prom, he likes the idea of an outdoor prom more.
“Last year when we were planning our prom we were considering an outdoor option but then it got canceled,” he said. “These guys pulled it off so perfectly.”
Duarte added he was extremely honored to have been selected prom king.
“My middle school self would be so shocked,” he said.
Junior class president Kamila Barrios and vice president Katelyn Wilkinson said they are so happy their class was able to pull off a successful outdoor prom and send the seniors off with something positive to remember.
“I’m so relieved this is now behind us,” Barrios, the new student council president, replacing Duarte, said afterward. “This is something we’ve been planning for three years. It finally came to be. We’re very excited and very happy.”
“I think more than anything we’re very proud,” Wilkinson added. “We pulled off a great night. It wasn’t easy but we (the junior class) did it. It was such a relief to see how things all came together at the end.”
Both ladies admitted this has been a stressful time for them as well as their classmates because of COVID-19 and it was nice seeing the smiles through the face coverings, hearing the laughter from the other students at the prom and to see everyone dancing.
“We’ve had a lot of fundraisers throughout the year that have been canceled due to COVID,” Barrios said. “Fundraising for this event was even very hard. It was stressful but definitely worth it.”
“This was such an amazing night,” Wilkinson stated. “I’m hoping other classes down the road will now see what can be done and can follow in our footsteps.”
Both students made it a point to thank the DHS and DUSD administration for their support in allowing the outdoor prom as well as their class sponsor, Ceferino Gilig.
“There were a lot of classmates, and even some former classmates, who helped make this happen,” Wilkinson said. “Without all of us pulling together, none of this would have been possible.”
Music for the prom was provided by the band Synthonia (which was composed of several different players from different bands), along with DJ Gaby Gold.
“We’re so proud of what we did,” Barrios concluded. “We did it, yeah!”