by Evan Newman


May 18, 2021

Her dress swayed as she and her date walked towards the mansion in the gold evening light, the sun illuminating her auburn hair and matching face mask.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., many school activities had been cancelled due to safety concerns. However, a group of parents of Atholton Seniors have come together to put together a prom for the class of 2021 who’s second chance at the prom many had dreamed of was again cancelled by the county due to COVID restrictions. On June 4th, seniors will be able to go to the Overhills Mansion to receive the experience many had been waiting for since last year.

Prom has always been a sterling experience that high school students dream of having. The dresses, tuxes, fancy settings, and of course the pictures, make up the special night that the class of 2021 was not able to experience last year, as the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. shut down nearly all in-person events.  On March 25th, Superintendent Michael Martirano announced that all HCPSS schools would not be having a prom for the 2020-2021 school year. In response, groups of HCPSS parents of this year’s senior classes came together over Facebook to begin planning proms for their kids. While not every school in the county has announced a prom as of now, some schools like Reservoir, Wilde Lake, and our own Atholton have had parent groups confirm they are putting together proms for this year’s senior classes.

“Of all the things that epitomize what your senior year is, prom is one of those things,” said Mrs. Crystal Werner, the spearhead of the group of parents organizing this year’s prom. “Once HCPSS announced there wouldn’t be a prom at the schools, then we had the greatest motivation to take [the money donated by parents] and try to see what we could use it for, and prom just seemed to be the first fit.”

However, the process has not been easy for making this high school dream a reality. According to Mrs. Werner, as the planning group consists entirely of parents, almost everyone is working around their jobs and pitching in when available to make this happen. However, they are certainly not unprepared. 

“It’s really been a gathering of specialists,” Mrs. Werner  went on to say. “Everyone has their strengths, and then we’re about to release a sign up for parents who can talk to us about what they feel like they want to contribute and how they can participate.”

In addition to the small team size, finding a venue has been hard for the parents as well. “We were getting shut down left and right,” said Mrs. Werner. She went on to say if they weren’t getting denied, the budget would have been “blown out of the water”. Luckily, the owners of the Overhills Mansion, a famous historic wedding and celebration venue, eagerly offered to help. One of the owners was a Howard County graduate herself who “loved to go to Atholton volleyball games” according to Mrs. Werner.

Prom itself will be a four hour event and contain a few different activities, as well as catered food and designated tables for eating. The “atholtonseniorprom2021” Instagram account has been sending out information about what will be happening at the event when available. It’s been stated that this year’s prom will have gambling tables, one for blackjack and one for poker, without any real betting, to fit with the 1920’s theme. Chips will be provided that can be used to bet at these tables, and can be cashed in for prizes at the end of prom. In addition, there will be a raffle for these prizes as well. There will also be a photo booth available for anyone who wishes to get a picture. Masks can be removed briefly for pictures according to Mrs. Werner. A tent will be set up outside of the mansion for dancing, including a DJ, and there will be tables available for eating where you can sit and eat without wearing a mask. The food will consist of farm to table menu options and a nitrogen ice cream bar. Masks will be required inside the mansion and at the DJ’s tent.

Thanks to Mrs. Werner’s help, along with the other parents who both helped to organize or supported financially, the senior class will be able to get the prom experience that many were looking forward to. 

“Prom feels like the ‘American high school experience,” said senior Aliya Belay. “I’ve always wanted to go, and I was disappointed when we didn’t have one last year… then to hear the parents were going to have one was fun. Plus, they said they were going to have pretzel bites, and I’m always there for pretzel bites.”

All in all, through the senior parent’s hard work, the senior class will finally get to have their prom experience. This event will be the last senior event for this class, so it’s an important moment for each and every senior attending. While not every school will be able to have this kind of event, the class of 2021 can finally rest easy knowing that the 2021 parents are doing their best to create the prom of their dreams. As Mrs. Werner put it, “It’ll be like the prom I wish I had.”

Posted by Evan Newman

Evan is a senior at Atholton High School and a third-year member of the Raider Review. He likes watching Netflix and is planning to go into a field in psychology for his career. He also loves to spend quality time with friends and enjoys watching soccer games when he has time.