The SJA Class of 2021 is on a scramble to find the perfect dresses, heels, and dates for their upcoming prom on April 30. Instead of showcasing their elaborate Splash and Bridal Boutique dresses over Zoom, the girls will be experiencing this special day in person. Prom is not only a nationwide tradition, but also a coming of age event these girls have idolized since shadowing the Academy in eighth grade. It symbolizes the St. Joe students’ ability to socialize freely as young adults, and this year they also have the responsibility to adhere to the new reality of social distancing. With pandemic awareness in mind, the girls will be trading in their lipstick for an incommodious mask on the dance floor. Their last chapter of high school may be coming to a close, but the seniors are looking forward to their last dance at St. Joseph’s Academy.
Make sure to pack your body paint and colorful eyeshadow, because “Joe-Chella” will be a night full of music, neon glowing, and dancing with the Angels. The theme was inspired by music festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza that were called off last summer for COVID-19 safety reasons. The valley of California and crowds of Grant Park in Chicago will be able to come alive, in a modified sense of course. Before entering the red carpet of Joe-Chella, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
The event will be held on Friday, April 30 from 7:30 P.M. to 10:30 P.M. at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac Hotel, which is conveniently located by the school. The seniors will want to arrive on an empty stomach because dinner will be served by 7:40 P.M. Reflecting on attire, the girls will arrive wearing modest, maxi dresses next to their dates who are required to uphold the dress code of a formal suit and tie. St. Joe seniors had the privilege of choosing their assigned tables, which seat eight people, tailored to four girls and their four dates. The preparation would not be complete without the finances, which is $90 dollars per person or $180 for a couple. The cost covers facility rental, t-shirt, DJ, dinner, and dessert with the Angels. In addition, students can read up on the school policy for dances in the SJA Student-Parent Handbook. In the case, they will be busy with finals and prom preparations, the highlights are: arrive on time, requirement of formal attire, no readmittance after prom, and drugs, alcohol, and smoking are not permitted. Each student is responsible for the behavior of their guest, which is something to think about when making a pros and cons list for date options.
Senior Olivia Linsman is an instrumental member of the prom committee, as well as a Beta Chi Pi officer at St. Joe. After organizing the event, she is excited to finally wear her dress and experience a night of festivities.
“I’m so excited to share this special night with everyone,” Olivia said. “I’m convinced that this will be the best prom St. Joe has ever seen and that it will definitely be a night to remember!”
The students will be getting a much-needed break from Zoom, but there are a couple of adjustments to the rules and regulations this year. To promote the health of students and faculty chaperones, the students will be required to wear masks and social distance when possible. There will also be hand sanitizing stations placed strategically throughout the ballroom.
The prom committee, consisting of Olivia Linsman, Flynn Wiegner, Kelsey Rowland, Mary Mansfield, and Jenny Mansfield, can be attributed to making prom a possibility in 2021. Their moderator, Mrs. Colleen Smith-Yelton, has used her expertise in the area of health and physical education to plan a safe, yet fun, dance for the seniors.
“We are very fortunate here at SJA because many schools have canceled, and we are still planning on holding a senior prom,” Mrs. Smith-Yelton said. “This dance is an important bonding experience for the girls, and the committee and administration is doing everything they can to make that happen for our senior class.”
On top of prom preparation, including hair, nails, alterations, and tanning appointments, it will be a rather busy finals week at the Academy. Seniors will expect long nights of studying, but their motivation will stem from the anticipation of finally putting on that silk dress or taking pictures with their dates and classmates. The last finals are scheduled for the morning of prom, marking the end to their high school classes. That night will be a noteworthy close to their St. Joe experience and memory the seniors will bring with them to the growing reality of college.
Even though many schools have turned to an online prom celebration or a cancellation altogether, St. Joseph’s Academy is recognizing the last wishes of the seniors to make a modified prom happen. With both an emerald class ring and corsage in hand, the seniors will enter their prom to be strong women with strong values.