Parents step in as school districts forced to cancel proms

By R. Hans Miller | Times Senior Reporter
Posted 5/22/20

In a May 20 update, Katy ISD cancelled proms for all district High School Campuses due to COVID-19 and state guidance – but that’s not something KISD seniors’ parents were going to …

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Parents step in as school districts forced to cancel proms

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In a May 20 update, Katy ISD cancelled proms for all district High School Campuses due to COVID-19 and state guidance – but that’s not something KISD seniors’ parents were going to let roll by. Parents of Katy, Taylor and Tompkins high schools as well as those from Lamar, Travis and Foster high schools outside of KISD are working with the Wildcatter Saloon to make proms a reality for their respective classes of 2020.

“Well we have 3.5 acres of outdoor space, and we know there’s not too many places like ours around,” said Wildcatter co-owner Dana Whitfield. “We basically just thought our property is perfect for social distancing and wanted to allow some of these kids to get the celebration they deserve.”

Katy Tiger mom Cecilia Majewski-Crutcher said she began helping to organize a prom for Katy High after the district’s announcement.

“Once they cancelled yesterday, I got on the phone (with the Wildcatter). Me and another mother went out there and talked to them and we worked out a real good deal on June 9,” Majewski-Crutcher said.

Students wishing to attend the Katy High School prom celebration, which is not being sponsored by Katy ISD, will have to pay $15 per ticket to attend, Majewski-Crutcher said. The event will be completely outside, she said and while the usual fancy dresses and tuxes were welcome, formal attire will not be required because it is expected to be hot and the main goal is for kids to have fun.

hitfield said Katy High School is among a group of seven schools The Wildcatter team was able to host, which filled up all the empty spaces on the venue’s calendar from late May and into June.

“We wish we were able to host every high school around, but given the number of schools, it just wasn’t feasible,” Whitfield said.

Whitfield said the venue will be putting extra effort into sanitizing its outdoor spaces. The large, outdoor area has plenty of room for attendees to spread out and there will be sanitizing stations throughout. Off-duty police officers will be on hand to keep things safe and, along with parent chaperones, will be working to make sure social distancing is practiced.

“I think the best part is just having so much space, that you can put tables far enough apart, and keep within the six-foot distance recommendation,” Whitfield said.

Students said that, while they understood various school districts’ decisions to cancel proms based on Texas Education Agency guidelines, they were saddened to hear they wouldn’t have their last event with friends, making the news that their parents were going to put on an event all that much more exciting.

“I understood the situation, and I knew obviously coronavirus is a big threat right now, but we just make due with what we have,” KISD senior Donnie Miller said.

Miller and classmate Brianna Cormier both said they really appreciated the district’s parents and The Wildcatter coming together to make an event that, while not school-sponsored, would still give them a chance to see their friends and be together one last time before heading off to college. Cormier is destined for Lone Star College in the fall with plans to move on to Texas A&M Galveston for a degree in Marine Biology while Miller will be a biology major at Texas Tech with plans to eventually become a doctor. They both want one last hurrah with their friends before they go on to pursue those careers.

“I’m mostly looking forward to seeing my friends again and have that one more chance again, have fun, celebrate with them and just being together,” Cormier said.

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