Not your traditional prom: Palmerton makes event special
Like all other area schools this spring, Palmerton Area High School’s prom became another casualty of COVID-19. But unlike many other areas, the community wasn’t about to give up on the students who had already lost so much during their senior year.
On Friday, through the hard work of the Class of 2020 Parents Club and generous community donations and sponsorships, Palmerton students got the prom, and their traditional walk through the borough park, they deserved.
“The community started reaching out and wanted to do something to give the kids a prom,” Tammy Recker, who has been an integral part of the Promenade in the Park event for at least 15 years and parent of a 2020 graduate, said. “The Parents Club had been contacted and later offered an outdoor prom venue sponsored by Country Junction. Simultaneously, a very generous donation came from Mr. Richard Nothstein and Country Harvest. Both of these sponsors, along with a team of parents, worked overtime as everything had to be completed within a two-week time frame for prom and the senior party to be held over the weekend.”
Promenade in the Park, which had been run by Polly Steinmetz for decades, is a way for seniors to display their personalities by wearing those unique gowns and suits they waited all year to wear, Recker said.
“It provides a memory when they drive by the park tomorrow or years from now of a place that will forever be their home,” Recker added. “The sense of home is something we all need.”
This year, the decision was made to forgo announcing of the couples to avoid congregating near the gazebo in the park. The route utilized the entire park in order to allow for social distancing. Borough council approved the event within days.
Around 130 students attended the prom events. In order for the community to know who each couple was, Recker gave each participant a name marker with a number and the spectators were given a handout with the names that corresponded to the numbers.
“We had to think outside the box this year,” Recker said. “It worked so well that I may have discovered a new way of doing this for years to come.”
Parents helped to decorate, serve food, and chaperon the prom and senior party.
“Our community has done so much to let our seniors know how special they are here in Palmerton while the kids, themselves, add pages to their life stories. Hopefully, one day they will pass along this year’s events, how they made it through with love, support, perseverance, and a sense of belonging to a small town they once called or call home because in the name of tradition, that’s Palmerton.”