After two years of a prom hiatus, this year’s juniors and seniors will be the first classes since 2020 to attend an Oakland Tech Prom. Seniors will have the opportunity to attend the culturally iconic high school dance on April 23rd, and juniors have their date set for the 7th of May. The student council has made a tremendous effort to ensure that these special nights happen.
However, there have been some challenges to getting the party started. Student council is facing a lack of funding and faculty support that causes constant change and stress in addition to concerns about the pandemic.
“It’s been super overwhelming,” says Senior Class President, Goodness Nwakudu, in an interview with The Scribe. Junior Class President, Kamaya Jackson, adds, “We had three different dates because the Assistant Principal and other people in charge kept changing the dates.” The Senior Prom had priority in terms of days, forcing the Junior Class President to propose countless calendar dates until the Tech administration finally agreed on early May. The PTA is helping fund the two events to make up for the lack of funding caused by the pandemic.
“With Covid, everything got delayed. We should have had [the dates and budget] set [by] this time last year,” says Senior Assistant Principal, Mr. Purser. “This school year got pushed up, but every event stayed the same. This created a crushed timeline and a bunch of conflicts.”
The Student Government has been juggling a variety of issues lately. There are sports games to think about, AP exams to prepare for, graduations to plan, plays to be organized by the school theater program, and spring break concerns. Oakland Tech faculty has been struggling to make these magical nights happen. The scarce budget is what convinced the Junior Class to contact the PTA for help.
Kamaya Jackson says, “We have had money in years before, but this year we had to submit this form to the PTA, requesting money.” The junior student body requested $8,000, but the Oakland Tech PTA only provided the student council with $2,500 for each class. The Junior Class requested funding first, but the PTA decided to be equitable and fund both classes with the same amount of money. Numerically speaking, it is a large amount of money, but student council members claim that it is not enough to fund two dances with large numbers of people attending both.
Goodness Nwakudu, Senior Class President, explains the planning process: “We haven’t had great leadership from Tech administration. It’s definitely hard to try to please the four hundred students in the Senior Class, especially since it’s my first time planning a dance like this.”
She says the best ways for students to participate in fundraising is to buy things at concession stands during sports games or purchase anything sold at any fundraiser that may come up in the near future. Another way to participate in funding is to donate money to the PTA explicitly stating that the funds are going to either the Senior or Junior class. And the most obvious way to help is by buying prom tickets.
Tickets are being sold every day at lunch in Rosemary’s office. Junior Prom tickets are sixty dollars and Senior Prom tickets are one hundred dollars. Rosemary, the administrator in charge of ticket sales, urges students to buy prom tickets before they sell out. Because Oakland Tech had no homecoming dance this year, the student council believes there will be a big turnout for Prom.
Some students hold that the tickets are too expensive, but most remain excited about a chance to attend their high school prom. “Prom is such an image of high school culture, I feel like I have to participate to fulfill my high school years,” says Oakland Tech junior Fiona Henry. Many students have been waiting for this night their entire lives, especially after growing up witnessing the glamorization of prom on television. The goal of this year’s prom is to fulfill these dreams; however, our prom has a small difference that students might have to adjust to. The world is still suffering through a pandemic and Oakland Tech must wait for further CDC guidelines in order to know if wearing masks will be mandatory or not.
Another thing that is to be determined is prom royalty. Junior Class President Jackson adds that the student council is planning a gender-inclusive royal court. Certain prom royalty candidates, such as non-binary and gender-fluid students, are included within the scope of prom candidacy and welcomed to run under non-traditional labels. Jackson concludes the interview: “We encourage everyone to run for court and participate!”