Prom on Friday means a variety of complications

Anna Gulyas '23, Copy Editor

An expert from the GPPSS Extracurricular Handbook and Code of Conduct, referencing the attendance policy for student activities. (Grosse Pointe’s Student Handbook)

Differing from a typical Saturday date in past years, this year’s prom is to be held on Friday, May 13, coming with certain complications.

According to the Class of 2022 advisor Meg Pierce, the class decided on this date due to limited fundraising opportunities over the last two years because of COVID. Holding prom on the preferred Saturday date was simply too expensive, and after researching a variety of cost-efficient options, picking a Friday date was the best idea.

“The biggest fundraiser for any class are spirit packs, and honestly for the most part, classes could just sell the spirit packs and be okay (to afford prom),” Pierce said. “Our junior year we hardly sold any. Then even this last year, senior year, we sold less as well. So we lost money– that was a big hit. And then we also couldn’t fundraise during COVID doing other miscellaneous things.”

After choosing the date, the attendance policy that would be put in place that Friday was officially announced, stating that students must attend at least half of the school day to be able to attend prom. This does exclude certain absences in which the student can provide documentation of.

“It’s not a new policy,” Principal Moussa Hamka said. “It’s a policy that exists for all of our extracurricular activities, including our sports, which is that you need to attend (school) for at least half the day in order to be eligible to participate in extracurricular or athletic events. That means if you have seven classes, (you must attend) four out of seven. Some students might only have six classes, so (they must attend) three out of six.”

It is important to note, however, that as stated in the GPPSS Extracurricular Handbook and Code of Conduct, when it comes to “non attendance based student activities” such as prom, “participation and attendance expectations for non-competition based extracurricular activities shall be determined on an activity specific basis by the faculty advisor.”

According to Class of 2022 Treasurer Megan Degrand ’22, the class was not aware that the policy would be applied specifically to prom when booking the venue.

“(When picking the date) we thought it would be less expensive on a Friday and there wouldn’t be a huge difference so we were like ‘yeah let’s just do it on a Friday,’” Degrand said. “At the time we didn’t know there would be an attendance policy.”

With that being said, Degrand mentioned how the policy is now causing certain issues to arise, as students planned on skipping the school day to prepare for the evening.

“Concerns I’ve heard from other people are that some people are worried about hair appointments or nail appointments or stuff they had set up before knowing about the attendance policy,” Degrand said. “From other people I’ve heard that (since) prom goes until 11 p.m. and people have stuff after that, they don’t want to be tired out from a school day alongside having prom and the activities that follow.”

Hamka added that he is aware of the complexity of the situation, but explained how attendance and academics champion activities like prom.

“Number one, we want to make sure students are in school or else we could have, for a variety of reasons across a multitude of days throughout the year, (situations) where students aren’t present,” Hamka said. “School comes first, academics come first, before prom. Prom is an important culminating activity, and we need to make sure the main thing stays the main thing, which is teaching and learning.

The attendance policy aside, Degrand mentioned that she is overall glad to be able to have a “normal” prom, especially since the past two senior classes could not.

“Things have just been strange lately with COVID restrictions and like the whole situation,” Degrand said. “So I’m just thankful that we can have a prom and that we don’t have to wear masks to it. It’s the closest we can get to normal nowadays.”