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Bellefonte seniors’ rite of passage

AMAYA ROTHROCK

Bellefonte

The Bellefonte Area High School Class of 2021 has been dealt many disappointments this school year and has once again been left feeling defeated.

After being continuously notified by Bellefonte High administration to plan for a normal school year, the Class of 2021 raised over $16,000.

However, that money, as of now, will only be going toward class T-shirts and a day trip to HersheyPark. This means there is no Senior Ball in sight.

The defeat left many students and parents determined to host their own Senior Ball that would possibly be held on May 8.

The Class of 2021 parents and some Bellefonte seniors worked together to figure out a way to safely host the dance that would require masks to be worn at all times, no outside guests, and enforce social distancing. However, the plan was met quickly with an advisory from the administration to not host the event.

“The administration will NOT be having this function. They strongly recommend that the Parent Group does not have it either. The administration is a firm ‘NO’ on this event,” stated an email from the Parent Group relaying information from the administration.

Although administrators stated that the school will not be hosting a Senior Ball, they still have yet to notify the students and have still claimed that “nothing is off the table.” That’s a phrase that has consistently been used throughout this year, but has almost always been followed with disappointment.

Senior Ball has been up for discussion since the beginning of the year, and students have received no answers as to what will be happening with the event. Students have only been told that the administration is trying their best, but so far details surrounding the event have not been discussed until recently.

Students did as they were told throughout the entire school year and planned the event as if it was a normal year, only to be left with disappointment and unanswered questions.

One being, why are the Bellefonte High seniors missing out on an event that most schools are still hosting?

Bellefonte High refuses to host a Senior Ball due to the concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, yet other school districts within Centre County have planned ways to safely host a dance for their students. Bald Eagle Area, Penns Valley, Philipsburg-Osceola, and State College Area High Schools have already announced their plans for a safe prom.

So why is Bellefonte High still refusing to host a prom?

The concerns surrounding the COVID-19 regulations are valid, however, with the Bellefonte Class of 2021 being compiled of 229 students, Bellefonte’s newly-renovated Rogers Stadium can safely host the event due to its maximum capacity of about 3,870 people.

The students attending the event would meet less than the cap of 50% capacity, leaving plenty of space for students to remain socially distanced.

Not only would Rogers Stadium be a perfect candidate for a Senior Ball venue, but parents have also found venues that would host Senior Ball while following all COVID-19 restrictions. Parents have discussed hosting the event at Christ Community Church in State College, the Pleasant Gap Fairgrounds, and even Talleyrand Park in Bellefonte, but all ideas have been shut down as of now.

Rather than understanding the Class of 2021’s disappointment, the administration has met the students with the threat of losing other possible senior activities.

“They (administration) also believe there will be no way to contact trace the kids if someone does contract COVID-19. Another point they wanted to make was that if this event is held, it could possibly affect the other events,” stated an email from the Parent Group regarding information they were provided from the administration.

Bellefonte’s seniors are simply asking for the right to have a prom.

We have dealt with this year being unlike any other for far too long, and it is time we are heard and understood.

(Amaya Rothrock is a senior at Bellefonte Area High School.)

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