First of a Kind Jr/Sr Banquet Brings Something Nearly Normal
On Sunny Slope Farm provided a stunning backdrop for this year’s COVID-safe Junior-Senior Banquet, one of the first nearly “normal” activities for upper classmen this academic year.
Last year — during the spring 2020 pandemic shut down — was the first time in decades EMHS didn’t have a banquet planned and hosted by the junior class in a transformed dining hall, followed by a party hosted by senior parents in another venue, often also with elaborate décor.
“This year’s banquet brought a lot of change. A big one was having the formal meal and after party together in one location,” said Justin King, high school principal, who oversaw the process, particularly the COVID protocol in consultation with area professionals.
Senior class sponsors Shannon Roth and Jodi Hertzler collaborated on the event, along with a host of parents. “It came together really well, the students seemed to have fun, and we were so happy to provide a memorable experience for them,” said Roth.
“I’m just thrilled that we were able to land this beautiful venue, and make such an important event happen this year to celebrate our students,” said King. “They have had an incredibly stressful and unusual year, and we wanted to do everything we could to recognize and honor them.”
This year’s event began with a “reverse parade” in the dining hall parking lot with seniors standing by their vehicles for parents and friends to drive through and honk, wave and photograph. This replaced the tradition of students arriving in creative ways to walk into the venue for all to see. “I just want to thank the senior sponsors, faculty and staff, and especially the senior parents who stepped up and helped plan an amazing event in less than two months. Our community is such a special place, and it really rallied around our juniors and seniors to make the event possible. I can’t be more appreciative to our parent community for their help.”
The program theme was “A night at the movies.” Junior emcees called each senior forward on the red carpet for a formal portrait and acknowledgement after the meal, along with some questions, witty banter and inside jokes.
After the program, students changed out of formalwear for games outdoors or to dance off their stressful year to tunes hosted by DJ Nathan May ’01. Masks were required when students mingled away from their tables, but didn’t get in the way of the fun.
” It was tons of fun and the most normal I have felt all year,” said Maggie Fairfield ’21. “We finally got to celebrate us and just have fun. While there were still regulations of course to protect us we still got to eat, dance, and play together. The planners did such a great job and I’m so happy we all got to go.”
Venue photos by Tiffany Showalter Photography. Parade photos by Andrew Gascho.