BAY VILLAGE

When Bay High School didn’t have its homecoming last year, then-junior Morgan Fischer and most class officers weren’t sure they'd have a prom this year.

Their fears proved to be unfounded. The senior class will enjoy a prom — one saved by the students’ ingenuity.

The dance begins at 7 p.m., May 8, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, a venue perfect for social distancing and safety protocols. It will be held in the stadium’s Lake Club, which offers a view of Lake Erie, said Principal Jason Martin.

Originally, the dance was scheduled for May 15 at the Windows on the River in Cleveland. However, the date was changed so students could attend commencement on May 28, even if they needed to quarantine after the dance.

Students will be seated in groups of eight at their tables in assigned friend groups. Masks are required at all times except during the dance’s meal. As an added precaution, giant party buses cannot be rented, but students can travel in their small friend groups that they will be sitting with during dinner, said Matt Spellman, the school’s activities director.

Through social media and fundraising campaigns, including a leaf-raking service in the fall, Bay’s class of 2021 raised enough money to have the most important dance of the year. The main problem was that the school’s homecoming, the biggest fundraiser for the senior prom, was canceled last year. “On average, putting a prom together costs about $10,000,” Morgan said. “Homecoming raises more than $5,000 alone for it.”

Ticket prices have not been determined yet. However, Martin expects the price to be announced sometime this week.

After-prom will begin at 10:30 p.m. at 78th Street Studios in Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood. While most of what’s in store for seniors is kept secret until the night of the dance, there will be a mechanical bull and a casino involved, according to organizer Heidi Langer.

While planning for prom begins four years in advance at Bay High School, there were plenty of obstacles because of the pandemic. It was unclear whether the dance would be permitted or not due to health guidelines.

“The hardest part was getting everyone involved,” Morgan said. “There was so much uncertainty about whether or not we’d have a prom that it was tough convincing seniors to get mobilized for fundraising.”

Despite this, Morgan says she used her Snapchat to spread the word about the fundraisers her class was doing. Besides raking leaves every weekend for two months, the students sold poinsettias during the holidays.

In January, the dance was given the green light, and both the Bay Village PTA and the senior class officers began planning the event.

While there’s plenty to be excited about, Martin says he’s looking forward to creating a lasting memory for his seniors.

“I’m looking forward to getting the class of 2021 together to experience one of those classic high school moments,” he said. “They’ve missed so much this year and being able to give them something they’ll remember for years to come is a great feeling.”

Contact this reporter at akamczyc@westlifenews.com or 216-307-6614.

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