By Maddie Qualls, staff writer, and Sreya Putrevu, staff writer
Snacks, games and the company of missed peers and friends were all enjoyed by Maria Carrillo High School students at the 2021 modified prom. The MCHS leadership class was able to organize an unorthodox yet celebratory prom event for juniors and seniors to attend. Taking place on May 8, the festivities included a drive-in movie screening of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a snack station equipped with chips and candy, complimentary Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, photo booths and corn hole.
MCHS junior and planner of the event Carli Miller said her “vision for the event was, at first, just a drive-in movie, where students could park their cars and enjoy a movie,” but as COVID-19 restrictions were modified because of Sonoma County dropping into the orange tier, leadership was able to do a lot more, like letting students do activities outside of their cars too. “Students really did seem to enjoy it. We did not think very many people would go, but there was a great turn out,” said Miller, based on the 117 students that attended. She also noted that “people definitely liked the movie part the most because they were able to hang out with their friends and enjoy ice cream.”
However, the planning process was not without its challenges. “This year was a lot more difficult than others because we had to keep in mind that everyone had to be six feet apart and wearing masks,” said Miller, adding that what they were able to do “was always changing.” Even the weather gave the planning committee a hard time. The wind was blowing hard, and the intense heat popped a lot of the balloons that leadership had set up, according to Miller. Nonetheless, it was still a success.
Junior Becca Poole attended the event and said her favorite part was “when everyone went back to the cars because everyone was vaccinated or was tested, so it felt so normal.”
“People were giving each other hugs because everyone knew it was safe, so it felt really normal, which was really exciting,” Poole said. “The movie part was fun. I don’t think people actually watched the movie because we were socializing because we haven’t in so long.”
Due to COVID-19, seniors from this year did not get to go to prom last year as it was canceled. Senior Katrina Anderson said, “I was going to attend the prom that was being planned in 2020, but then [it] never happened…throughout my senior year I lost all hope in having a prom.” When Anderson had heard that Carrillo was planning a prom for this year, she “was so excited.” She said, “This drive in movie prom meant the world to me,” adding that she was “so lucky to even say that [she] got a prom this year.”
This prom was made memorable with decorations around the campus, which has been such an important place for all MCHS students. “I could tell that they spent a lot of time decorating,” Anderson said. “[Prom] did live up to my expectations. I got to see so many of my friends and had a great time watching movies and making memories.”
Even though the prom this year was unconventional, it allowed for a lot of people to make memories and see the people that they spent their high school years with before graduation. Anderson said, “I [would not] change anything. It was so much fun and I made many memories [I will] cherish forever!” Similarly, Poole enjoyed “the feeling of normalcy and everyone reconnecting after a year.”
“It was crazy to see how much people have changed,” she said.