Local student-led petition aims to allow formal prom dance

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Students of all of ages have been greatly affected by COVID-19. The pandemic has led to missed moments many of us still treasure from our school days. First News at Nine’s Phoebe Murray explains the effort to bring back one high school experience for some seniors.

Senior Emma Thurston is leading the charge behind the petition that has collected more than 400 signatures.

She says after a year of disarray, this is the staple senior event she would like to see come to fruition.

Planned as of now for North High School Junior and Senior Prom, is dinner and a movie, the student-led petition circulating is advocating for a dance to be added to the docket.

“Junior Prom that’s huge, and when we had to cancel it last year because of everything going on, very understanding of why we had to cancel it, but it was just kind of like, okay well maybe next year we could have that chance,” says Thurston.

“My parents still talk about their prom, like it’s a huge deal so not having it last year and then we weren’t going to have it this year it really sucks,” says Faith Benzschawel, fellow North senior.

North High School teacher and student council advisor, Kevin Mesiar oversees the prom committee.

“We have a lot of ways we can still allow students to congregate and to have a great time but making sure that when they leave there that they’re going to go home and they’re going to keep their families safe,” says Mesiar.

The Hollywood Premier-themed night will take place at the Lismore event center.

Mesiar says student requests were considered but decisions for the event were based on guidance from the city-county health department; which includes as many mitigated levels of risk as possible, minus a DJ and a dance floor.

“From things like signage for spacing, from staggered arrival times, to occupying both ballrooms, to having sanitation stations at our tables,” says Mesiar. “Number one for us is remembering we’re part of a bigger ecosystem that we’re part of a community and that if we can’t keep our community safe, that we haven’t done our due diligence there either.”

Benzschawel said, “I just want to experience what everyone else got to experience their senior and junior year and what they continue to talk about as they grow older.”

In Eau Claire, Phoebe Murray, First News at Nine.

Mesiar says he’s always proud of his students advocating for what they want, but as far as prom set for Saturday, April 17th, the school is not in a position to have a formal dance.

Senior Emma Thurston says she has had conversations with North’s principal of potentially putting together a formal dance that would take place outdoors, at a later date.

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