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Students may have to wait for prom

NATCHEZ — Spring is typically prom season for most high school juniors and seniors.

Because of COVID-19 school closures, however, students may have to wait for, or even cancel one of their most anticipated high school experiences.

Natchez Adams School District Superintendent Fred Butcher said the Natchez High School and Natchez Early College prom, which was initially scheduled for April 4, has been canceled for this school year.

“We don’t know how this school year is going to play out,” Butcher said. “Right now, the government is saying that on April 17 we might go back in session, but that is a may or may not situation. … That would leave us only a short amount of time to focus on other important things for the remainder of the school year. … Our students are mature enough to see and understand that this is a national crisis that we’re in.”

Butcher said students and parents would receive a refund for their prom tickets at a later date.

Other school administrators said they would attempt to reschedule prom later on in the school year once the pandemic has passed.

Monterey High School’s prom had originally been scheduled for Saturday evening, Principal Dena Hale said.

“Prom has been canceled for now and will possibly be rescheduled. We’re just kind of taking it one day at a time,” Hale said.

Vidalia High School principal Bernie Cooley also couldn’t affirm whether his juniors and seniors would still have prom.

“As far as I know, our prom has been postponed,” he said. “… I believe students are feeling what a lot of folks are feeling. They want to know what is happening to their senior year, and no one has an answer for them. There is just a lot of uncertainty about everything. It’s a crazy time in our world right now.”

Morgan Lipsey, teacher at Monterey High School, said the school’s junior class hosted an alumni basketball tournament and raised approximately $2,500 for the occasion. Whatever is left of the money is also used for graduation, Lipsey said.

“We were going to have it (Saturday) night at Panola Woods Country club and obviously that can’t happen,” Lipsey said. “… We’ve got some dates in mind and we are going to reschedule if at all possible. … It’s definitely saddening. Prom is a fun time that everyone looks forward to. Our kids, of course, know that their safety and well being is our top priority.”

Prom isn’t the only special occasion students are worried about, Lipsey said.

Athletes are missing sporting events, students are missing field trips and seniors especially are missing a chunk of what is left of their high school experience as long as schools remain closed.

“As soon as we get past this, we’ll go above and beyond to finish well and make sure they’ll have as many senior moments to remember as anyone,” Lipsey said.