When Pope Canceled Prom, Moms Stepped In
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When Pope Canceled Prom, Moms Stepped In

Pope High School parents didn’t let pandemic restrictions prevent upperclassmen from savoring memorable experience.

Upperclassmen gathered at Ivy Hall under the stars.
Upperclassmen gathered at Ivy Hall under the stars.

Underclassmen across the country come together in one extravagantly memorable night to continue a centuries-old promenade dance tradition that encompasses months of preparation, thousands of dollars in glitzy dresses, tuxedos, limos, high-end dinners and the like.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and its second year of derailing the long-standing rite, many schools aborted the mission of arranging an eventful night of glitz and glamour that high schoolers yearned for the entire year.

Except for one group of ardent mothers who insisted on rectifying the situation by convening seniors before they part ways to embark on their futures.

Stephanie Pearle said that when Cobb County schools canceled proms, she and seven other moms from Pope High School strategized a six-week plan to make sure the seniors could still experience an unofficial prom. “It was like planning a wedding … anything from lights, to food, decoration, security and volunteers.”

The parents rented Ivy Hall in Roswell and sold tickets to cover costs for the May 7 event. The event was held mostly outdoors under the stars.

Welcome sign greets prom attendees at Ivy Hall.

The mom committee set up a Pope Class of 2021 page on Facebook to coordinate details. The event was made up of multiple components, including a DJ, a photographer, decorations purchased from Amazon and parents who volunteered to bring lights and the like. “I did a whole SignUpGenius and we got volunteers to help on the night of the prom,” Pearle said.

“It’s amazing how much cooperation we got from all the parents, whether they baked, volunteered [or otherwise] assured this night happened.”

Tables were filled with desserts from Nothing Bundt Cakes and homemade baked goods.

What about the coronation of prom king and queen you may wonder? Pearle was thrilled to share that, “We let the kids nominate. We cut up pieces of paper and decorated a shoe box. Upon arrival, students had to vote and check in. The queen received a crown, and the king received a hat that says, ‘king’ on it,” she said.

“We had a beautiful, decorated display table filled with desserts from Nothing Bundt Cakes and parents who baked individually wrapped desserts.” She added that Ivy Hall served mocktails such as margaritas, and Shirley Temples – no alcohol of course.

Tables were set up outside Ivy Hall as the outdoors are believed safer for pandemic parties.

As opposed to traditional school proms previously held at such locales as the Fox Theatre, students seemed to stay the entire time for this prom instead of leaving after a short time as they had in the past, Pearle noticed.

Unlike typical senior proms, juniors and other outsiders were allowed to attend too. At Ivy Hall, an area was set aside to take senior prom pictures. The moms also installed a photo booth for more candid shots.

“We weren’t looking to make money on this. We were looking to cover the expenses,” she added. “The kids were so appreciative; the parents were appreciative. We had the whole night, tuxedos, limos pulling up left and right dropping kids off…”

Evan Sommer and Rebecca Weiss, both Jewish, strike a pose at prom.

The prom attracted 278 students with masks optional following Gov. Brian Kemp recently lifting the health restriction.

Prom King nominee Noah Walter, who is Jewish, said the moms did a magnificent job. He and his friends were disappointed with the prospect of the year ending without a prom. “We were surprised. We had a great time and thankfully it was a good, normal ending to a [terrible] year.”

Pearle’s daughter Rachel admitted that it was her first prom since last year’s junior prom was canceled too. “The highlight was being able to go. It was very different than what we expected and even better.

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