NORFOLK, Neb. – Many recent high school graduates saw the final two years of school disrupted by the pandemic. Whether it was activities, athletics or commencement ceremonies, they missed out on what should have been cherished memories that most people take for granted in a normal year. Recently, Northeast Community College focused on the positive and created what is now considered a nostalgic event where many of its students created new dreams and memories.
Shortly after Valentine’s Day, the College’s Student Activities Council (SAC) held its own prom that featured the look and feel of most high school proms. Following a steak dinner provided by Chartwells, the college’s food service provider, approximately 250 students danced the night away in the Lifelong Learning Center on the Norfolk campus.
Carissa Kollath, director of student activities, said they began planning for the event last year.
“When COVID hit in 2020 and canceled many senior proms, my assistant Erika Rupprecht and I discussed a need to provide those high school moments when our students return in the fall. Sadly, they were not able to return to events that fall, so we held off until 2022,” she said. “Our sophomores still deserved that missing piece, so we wanted to go all out with the token high school prom theme and decorations.”
Kollath said students voted on the theme “Hearts are Wild-Vegas” prom. Large cardboard decorations were ordered to create the scene with SAC members spending hours volunteering to assemble all the decorations.
“We encouraged students to dust off those old dresses they never got to wear, but formal wear wasn’t required,” Kollath said.
The night also featured prom royalty. A king and queen were crowned based on votes by the student body for the best “Promposal” idea. When students arrived at the dance, they were given a poker chip to vote at a table with photos/videos that students submitted of their promposals. Keelynd Clinton, Chadron, and America Rodriguez, Columbus, were crowned king and queen during the dance after his “Office-themed” promposal was selected as the students’ favorite.
“It was an amazing evening for our students! The entire leadership team within Student Activities created an opportunity for attendees to have fun in a safe environment,” said Lai-Monté Hunter, dean of students. “I observed lots of smiles as students were line dancing and taking several pictures. The energy in the room was a clear indication of how excited they were to have that special moment in time.”
Many students took time to thank Student Activities for hosting the event. One student tagged SAC on Instagram in her post: “finally got my “senior” prom ❤ ***thank you @northeast_sac for putting in such hard work to pull this off! The empty memories that Covid left from our cancelled senior proms were restored with some beautiful new memories instead***"
“That sums it up for us,” Kollath said.
PHOTO IDs: Keelynd Clinton and America Rodriguez.