Seniors from the Lowcountry will not miss the ball this year | New

Imagine spending years of high school sitting with undertones of excitement and curiosity about that big night, where you and your friends all dress up, to set it aside.

The rite of passage – broadcast to teens through decades of movies and TV shows – did not allow Dorchester 2 district officials to announce the cancellation to students this time last year.

A year and thousands of vaccinations later, DD2 and the Berkeley County School District announced approval for a ball in the coming months.

DD2 approved the plans for the ball on April 22. Soon after, Ashley Ridge High and Fort Dorchester High sent the information to students and families. A Facebook post on April 21, via the Summerville High School Facebook page, informed and confirmed to many that the school was planning to host a ball.

All over the Lowcountry, news of the homecoming homecoming spread quickly.

Than prom proposals and changing rooms overflowing with brightly colored dresses. And while last year’s students certainly missed out on the unique experience the prom offers high school students, the financial income from all that was promised has also been a huge loss for many local businesses that matter. on events for their income. .

Linda Behling from Linda’s Sewing is one of them. Behling’s one-story brick building, located on East 7th North Street, is typically home to more than 15 ball gowns, not to mention many other bridal and bridesmaid dresses, at this point in the year. . Right now, Behling says she’s worked on maybe a dozen in total.

“Normally my year would just be a total panic all year round between proms and weddings and the usual clothes for people and stuff that I never had a slowdown before the December break” , Behling said.

Last year everything was going normally for Behling until suddenly, in mid-March, the phones stopped ringing.

It was around this time that the restrictions were first put in place, forcing all events to be canceled for the foreseeable future. Weddings, proms, and even the normal alterations typically requested for everyday use were no longer needed as people moved on to life in lockdown.

Business was non-existent. Like many other self-employed workers, Behling was relieved to learn that the federal government would incorporate plans to support these avenues of business.

“I was very, very relieved to find out because I was in a panic about income,” Behling said.

As the New Year dawned, Behling, like many others, was unsure of what to expect. Originally, she hoped that business would return to normal by fall 2021. When that didn’t happen, she had to make some changes. She started taking clients to the door, wearing masks, and chatting briefly with them to find out what they needed to change the clothes.

“Someone might tell me, ‘I need two inches from my pants’ or whatever without going back (to change clothes),” Behling said.

After receiving her two shots in February, Behling decided that on April 1, she would fully reopen for the first time in over a year.

Only about a week after its doors reopened, customers started flocking to it with the need for accommodations, as events, such as weddings, that were canceled over the past year are postponed for them. months to come. With many local high schools quickly approaching prom night, business is almost back.

“It turns out that in fact around this time people started to come out of the carpentry. All kinds of people are calling because weddings are starting, bridesmaids and mother of the bride and all that, ”Behling said.

So far, Behling says there haven’t been too many prom dresses.

Brooke Matthews, principal of Ashley Ridge High School at DD2, said prom dates were initially set for all three high schools for a while in June. However, after District DD2 Nursing Coordinator Amanda Santamaria noticed that if anyone on the initial prom date was to test positive for COVID-19, everyone who attended the event should be put on trial. quarantine for 14 days, forcing them to miss their diploma.

“So we pushed back our decision and all of our dates are now fine, even if the children were to be quarantined for 14 days they could still attend graduation. We’re very confident about it, ”said Matthews.

One of Behling’s clients came in last week to talk about the rush many girls are having to get everything ready in time for the new date. Not only are they trying to find their dresses, but for many, adjustments and modifications are required as well. Behling says most changes take at least two weeks, and if things continue as they are, then it will be three.

There’s a lot to juggle for everyone involved in the logistics of the prom this year, even to make the ball a reality, Matthews says there’s been a lot of cooperation between high schools in the district. They considered everything, Matthews said, from normal prom to something on the outside and ultimately concluded that they would be able to pull it off.

“There was never a time when we didn’t want to do proms for our kids, you know, especially with those old people who didn’t get a chance to participate last year. So it was more just a question of ‘well, what can we do to make this work,’ ”Matthews said.

The district released a poll, ahead of the announcement of the official date of the ball, asking students if they would be willing to wear a mask at the ball. Matthews says the results came back showing that about 95% of students from all three high schools were ready to comply.

“They know what they need to do to get there and they’re ready to do it and that’s what’s exciting. But they also want to follow the rules and that’s what’s important, ”Matthews said.

To reduce capacity, only the elderly are allowed to go to the ball this year. However, guest tickets purchased by a senior student still allow their dates to be in a different grade level. Each student attending the prom is required to complete a COVID-19 waiver, signed by a parent, before purchasing tickets. The waiver recognizes the risk of potentially contracting COVID-19 by attending prom during a global pandemic and outlines precautions students should observe during their stay, including wearing a mask, temperature checks before entry and maintaining appropriate social distancing.

While this year’s prom may look a little different, students and local businesses are eagerly awaiting the sense of normalcy it seems to bring back to the community.

“I hope things continue but I’m careful because you know we don’t really know what’s going to happen with all these variations. When you look at what’s going on in India and Brazil, and if it could spill over here, we’ll be in trouble again, ”Behling said. “I’m going to keep taking it one day at a time and if people call for an appointment, I’ll make the appointments and see what happens over the next few months.”

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About Daniel Lange

Daniel Lange

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