On Friday, April 22, Hayes High School held its prom with a few changes to the usual format.
Principal Dr. Ric Stranges said prom has “evolved” from just a dance over the years and has become more of an event.
“We want to make prom special, memorable and safe, and I think we’ve achieved that,” he said.
Stranges said the event was held on a Friday this year instead of the usual Saturday, and upperclassmen were given a half-day off to go pick up their outfits and prepare for the event. He added prom was held at Villa Milano Banquet & Conference Center in Columbus and included dinner.
“… We’ve taken everything else off of their literal plates,” Stranges said. “They don’t have to find a restaurant. We make prom, the event, all inclusive. Once the students get to the venue, they’re there, and they don’t have to travel.”
Stranges added prom has been held at Villa Milano for the last seven years, and the school is always “treated very well.” He also credited the student body for leaving a good impression.
“Every single student that came out of the event is appreciative, grateful and thankful that we could have a normal event again after the pandemic,” Stranges said. “It’s nice to do normal events. (Villa Milano) wants us to come back because our students are respectful, well behaved and mature. It’s the truth. They never disappoint me.”
Stranges said another change this year was the absence of a traditional prom court. He said many high schools are moving away from naming a king and queen and said student council “felt like we didn’t need that hierarchy.” Stranges said the students didn’t mind the change.
“It wasn’t even an issue,” he said. “They wanted a classy event and that’s what occurred last Friday. … It was good. It’s something students look forward to. Student Council and our advisors did a great job creating that environment.”
Dominic Dipietro, a senior, said prom was “great” this year and was a fitting end to his time at Hayes.
“It was better than I expected it to be,” he said. “I expected to have fun, but I had more fun than I expected. It felt good because we missed out last year. It’s different than homecoming because it’s more formal. It made the (perfect end) to my senior year.”
Mark Sulek, also a senior, had “a blast” at prom.
“I thought it was great,” he said. “It was good to see everybody. Everybody was having a good time and came together. I thought it felt great. I loved getting out and dancing around with people. It was super refreshing.”
Sulek said he’s looking forward to the end of the year and said prom felt like one of the last big events of high school.
Senior Colin Bibler said prom was “really fun.”
“I had a good time with my friends,” he said. “It was a lot of fun and felt normal to be out again. It was great. It was good to be with all the upperclassmen in one space.”
There are a number of events for seniors left this year, including a last walk on May 13, senior visits to elementary schools on May 18, senior night of excellence on May 19 and graduation on May 20.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.