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Prom under the stars
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WCHS senior Erica Burch, 18, makes sure her escort for the evening, Johnathan Herron, 19, will be stylish. “This will be our second year going to prom together,” said Burch. “We went to his last year. This year, we’re going to mine.” Herron added, “I’d go to 100 proms with her.” - photo by Lisa Hobbs
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Dakota Ferrell, 17, gets fitted for his tux by Kathy’s of McMinnville employee Emme Smith. “I don’t have any expectations about prom,” said Ferrell. “I hope we get to have one. There’s rain in the forecast.” - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented prom.

For what is believed to be the first time in school history, Warren County High School is holding its senior prom outdoors.

The prom is set for tonight, June 5, with the theme Ballroom Brilliance. Due to social distancing guidelines, only 100 students will be admitted at a time. The prom will be held in two shifts from 7 to 9 p.m., and from 9 to 11 p.m.

Prom sponsor Linda Taylor says she is among a group that’s worked hard to provide a memorable night for students.

“We wanted to make it nice and as close to normal as we could possibly get,” said Taylor. “I’ve been working really, really hard to make it like we’re inside and I want people to know, and these seniors to know, we’ve put in time and work to give them a nice prom.”

The Prom Court has been selected by students and a Prom King and Prom Queen will be announced. Those vying for Prom King are Peyton Haston, Noah Martin and Chad Phan. In the running for Prom Queen are Katie Bouldin, Amilya Hobbs, Marisol Serna and Julianne Thomas.

King and Queen will be announced at the end of the first shift.

Prom ticket sales are down. The fact school has been closed since mid-March is likely a contributing factor.

Taylor said 180 tickets were sold, down from a typical year of 450 to 500. She said another prom-like event which is being held elsewhere in the county Friday night is also responsible for fewer attendees.

“We were all on board from the start with doing everything we could to make sure we have a prom,” said Taylor referring to herself, WCHS principal Clark George and former Director of Schools Bobby Cox. “Other counties made the decision to cancel their prom, but we were determined to have something for our students because we feel it’s important.”

The prom will be held in the circle drive area immediately in front of the main entrance to the high school gym. As props, large archways have been constructed and trees will be lined with lights and chandeliers.

There is one drawback to an outdoor prom.

“If it comes a downpour, I guess we’re done,” said Taylor. “There is no backup plan.”