Seniors Will Have Prom, Graduation with a Twist


Todd Dandelske

For commencement last year, a stage was built in the school parking lot and graduates arrived in waves of 30.

Kevser Er, Class of 2021

West Haven High School seniors will be having modified prom and graduation this year to allow the Class of 2021 to celebrate safely during the pandemic.

Prom Plans:

The prom will take place across two nights–May 21 and May 28–at Villa Bianca in Seymour, with a theme of “Midsummer’s Night Eve.”

The current plan is to have all prom attendees show they have tested negative for Covid-19 within three days of the event or proof of full vaccination. People will be required to wear masks and temperatures will be taken at the door.

The prom has to be spread across two nights because current state guidelines limit outdoor events to 200 people. Seniors will be able to choose which prom they want to attend.

“If it does change by May then we would revisit the two proms and try to combine it into one prom,” Principal Dana Paredes said.

WHHS seniors will get first chance to buy tickets, and if there are extras, they can bring guests from other grades or schools. Tickets will be about $25 per person for seniors and $75 per person for guests. One guest per senior is allowed. Guest tickets go on sale April 5.

“We have over 300 seniors and only 400 tickets,” Mrs. Paredes said. “However in general senior prom does not go over 400 even before Covid, so I don’t think we’re going to run into a situation where we don’t have enough tickets to go around, but seniors will have priority.”

Both proms will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A dinner will be served with a variety of food options.

Graduation Plans:

Graduation is set for June 15 on the football field and will be done in three or four waves, with 100 graduates in each wave. There will also be a separate virtual graduation released on June 16.

Last year’s ceremony was held in the school parking lot with groups of 30 graduates at a time and one car of guests per student.

“The rules have changed a lot since last year,” Mrs. Paredes said. “This year they’re actually not putting a hard and fast number, but just saying that everybody has to be six feet apart.”

Holding the ceremony in waves will allow each senior to bring more guests, probably around six. Students will get to choose which wave they will go in.

The ceremony has a rain date of June 17.

Mrs. Paredes is looking on the bright side of the changes to graduation.

“[Last year] was a much more personal graduation experience than a regular graduation because parents were able to stand right in front of the stage when their child was graduating,” she said. “I was happy with how last year’s graduation went because I think it was the best we could do under the circumstances. It was better than I thought.”