A group of parents have gathered to give the Severna Park High School graduating class of 2021 "a night to remember."
Gone this year are the pep rallies, a homecoming dance, assemblies, prom and so much more. Seniors at Severna Park, throughout Anne Arundel County and across the country have missed out on numerous milestones this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We started looking into alternatives for what that might look like if there was no prom," said Helene Nicholson, who, along with other parents of graduating Severna Park students, has assembled an event to celebrate this senior class. “What could we do to still give them something? It's been such a bad year for them. They've had pretty much everything taken away that you could possibly take away from them.”
After news broke in late March that the 2021 prom would be canceled, a group of about 30 parents, led by Cookie Drummond, organized an event for all the graduating Falcon students to gather one more time. On June 9, from 7:00pm to 11:00pm at Kurtz's Beach in Pasadena, students will be treated to a safe evening of fun and festivities.
“To a young person graduating, in their senior year there are things that are a rite of passage," said John Mason, president of Kurtz's Beach. "Celebrating is one of them."
Kurtz's Beach will host several of the county schools for similar celebratory senior functions over the coming weeks.
"We have a lot of kids that work for us," said Mason about the staff at Kurtz's Beach. "They're like family."
Knowing the difficulties that students have faced over the last year, Mason said that there was a desire to use their property to make a positive impact for the kids.
The event is not sponsored by Anne Arundel County Public Schools, making it a challenge to contact the families of all graduating students.
"Our mission from the first moment that we started was to make certain this information is shared with every single senior," said Jen Whitlock, who has headed up the fundraising efforts for this event.
The committee has used mask sales and graduate yard sign sales to help fund this event. Donations have also been made to a GoFundMe page.
Tickets will be available for in-person purchase outside of the Long & Foster office located at 541-B B&A Boulevard in Severna Park. The $65 tickets can be purchased on May 6 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm and May 18 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. A valid student identification card must be presented at the time of purchase. Walk-up tickets will not be available on the day of the event.
Students in attendance will be treated to an evening of dinner and dancing. There will be a live DJ and photo opportunities. Organizers also expect several raffled giveaways including prizes such as a television or AirPods. Whitlock said there will be at least one raffle in which all graduating seniors, regardless of their attendance to the event, will be eligible to win a prize.
"We're in this to reach every kid and have them participate," Whitlock said.
The committee is also in search of sponsors for the event, with different levels of involvement available for purchase.
Anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to email email@example.com.
"It's going to be great to see them together," Whitlock said. "They've truly persevered."