WILMINGTON — Little did they know when the planning began in July 2019 for the Wilmington High School 2020 prom that it would end up as a computerized night to remember.
During that initial preparation, they were pretty sure they wanted the theme to be “The Roaring ’20s” because it would be the year 2020, said Junior Class President Regan Sparks. Further, the prom venue was expected to remain at the Roberts Convention Centre.
Then in late 2019 the coronavirus appeared on the world stage and by the start of spring, social gatherings of any size were getting cancelled or postponed in the United States.
Although many schools reluctantly cancelled their annual prom altogether, WHS organizers decided to hold a virtual prom.
“A big thing for us was giving the seniors something to look forward to,” said Sparks. But postponing an in-person prom to later in the year could have left out seniors who will go away to the military and others who wouldn’t be able to take part for other reasons.
So, with social distancing measures in mind, prom planners during virtual meetings tried to come up with an idea that fit public health regulations, as well as “something we could still have fun with, and people could make the most of,” she said.
Alex Angelo, who was WHS’s in-person prom DJ last year, returned for the 20202 virtual prom and took care of the technical side of it.
During the Saturday evening livestream, the screen featured a rhythmic Angelo in a tux, with a black-and-white film background showing Roaring ’20s dancers, and in one corner, a continuing series of still photos and videos from on-site prom goings-on, many of them outdoors, where participants sometimes wore casual clothes and sometimes formal attire.
A video captured the excitement of Naudea Mojica when she heard a fashionable and dramatic WHS theater teacher Ken Lydy announce her as the 2020 prom queen.
Of the images sent by Twitter and Instagram to the livestream show, Sparks said, “I think it was awesome just to see people making the most of it.”
Where she lives the WiFi is not very good, so she and her date Riley Ibaugh went to the high school parking lot and had the livestream playing there.
“So my boyfriend and I were doing the cha cha slide in the high school parking lot that was empty, that was pretty fun,” she said.
Sparks added, “I just loved seeing people’s reactions and making the most of what we can do, and getting all dressed up … I think it was a nice way to bring us all together.”
Virtual prom participation was good, as attested by the hashtag whsvirtualprom trending on Twitter for Ohio.
“I am so proud of the Prom Committee and the Junior Class officers for our positivity through everything. I think we were definitely faced with some challenges, and just seeing us all come together and being able to put something on for our seniors, and just seeing everybody make the most of it and go with what they have, I think is just awesome,” said Sparks.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.