The prom had been scheduled for April 24 at the Esplanade Lakes event center in Downers Grove, but it had to be cancelled when Gov. J. B. Pritzker extended his stay-at-home order to April 30.
Many students, especially seniors, were disappointed. For senior Kenna Howorth it was going to be her first and only prom. She spent her junior year as a foreign exchange student.
“I’m really sad about it,” Howorth said. “I didn’t think it was going to that big of a deal for me, but I’m pretty devastated because I never got to go to prom. So, I feel like I’m missing out on kind of the quintessential American teenager experience.”
RBHS Principal Hector Freytas said it was painful for him to have to cancel the prom, but he had no choice given the stay-at-home order.
“I’m devastated as much as the students are,” Freytas said. “Anytime you have to tell students that they’re not going to be able to celebrate an occasion it’s never a good feeling. I personally felt terrible because I had a prom. I mean many of my coworkers had proms. … Just thinking about it was devastating.”
RBHS will not be able to get back the $1,000 non-refundable deposit that it paid to book the Esplanade Lakes, according to Dave Mannon, assistant principal for student affairs.
The Lyons Township High School prom, scheduled for May 28 at Navy Pier is on for now, but that could change depending on what the situation is in late May.
Freytas said that the RBHS graduation ceremony is still scheduled for May 22, but the type of event it will be is dependent on the conditions at the time and what public health orders are in place then.
“We are going to do our best to bring them together when it’s safe, and if we can’t come together then we may have to do something virtually,” Freytas said.