CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ With the effects of the pandemic lingering, both of Cranston’s high schools decided to get creative this year to ensure students were still able to go to prom.
The schools opted to host both junior and senior proms on the football field at Cranston Stadium, complete with a dance floor on the turf.
Cranston High School East Principal Sean Kelly said the district prioritized coming up with a way for students to safely celebrate the end of their high school years.
“It was vitally important for us to be able to provide something for the students and families so that they got some sense of normalcy back into their lives,” Kelly said.
The high school’s junior proms took place Monday and Tuesday night. Cranston East’s senior prom took place Wednesday night, and Cranston West’s is scheduled for Thursday night.
12 News was there for Cranston East’s senior prom, where approximately 250 seniors danced under a tent with their classmates.
Senior Class President Ivan Abreu said it’s been months since he was able to get together with all of his classmates at one time due to virtual learning.
“It’s lovely to see all these people,” Abreu said. “Friends that I haven’t seen, except for on a computer screen, in such a long time.”
When restrictions were first lifted in Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee proposed pod dancing at proms. But now, pod dancing and mask wearing is no longer required.
Even though students weren’t required to wear masks or dance in pods, Kelly said they still had safety precautions in place.
“Proof of vaccination, or proof of a negative test, so that we could make sure that we were keeping a safe environment for all of our kids,” Kelly said.
Last year, all junior and senior proms were canceled because of the pandemic. Layhla Morales tells 12 News she was happy to hear she would get the chance to enjoy her senior prom without the need to coordinate a mask with her prom gown.
“I think this is honestly like the best we could have done,” Morales said. “I’m extremely happy [about] it. To have something normal, to have pictures with people smiling and having their faces [showing].”
Once proms are over, the tent at Cranston Stadium will come down and a stage will go up for graduation ceremonies on Saturday.
Cranston High School West will have their graduation ceremony first at 10 a.m., followed by Cranston High School East’s at 4 p.m.