PENNSBURY >> Covid 19 prevented the Class of 2020 from experiencing the Best Prom in America, but on Saturday, July 11 they did the next best thing.
More than 150 floats, cars and trucks rolled across the high school campus as the class salvaged at least one part of the renowned Pennsbury Prom - the Prom Arrival Parade.
Dressed in their best Prom attire and beaming with Falcon pride, they waved and smiled as they arrived at the entrance to the high school, which was decorated with murals from Sports Nite and from what was to be this year’s Prom theme, “Wish Upon a Prom.”
“I hope this gives them something of the Pennsbury tradition, the Pennsbury experience that they looked forward to without the actual event,” said Senior Prom advisor Terry Poulton who joined assistant prom advisor Curtis May and former Prom advisor Tony Napoli in cheering on the class. “It’s been heartbreaking. But we felt we could at least do something for them.”
After their arrival, they walked across a red carpet, had their prom photos taken and then posed next to a giant farewell mural listing every college the members of the Class of 2020 will be attending. The mural, a gift to the class from their parents, featured the words, “Oh, the places you’ll go” from Dr. Seuss.
“We’re making lemonade out of lemons,” said PHS East Principal Reggie Meadows. “The students wanted something to commemorate the Prom. This is something fun and memorable for them. It’s heartbreaking we weren’t able to do the whole thing for them. But this is something we could do safely.”
Senior Andrew Hamacher thought it was a pretty “cool gesture” by the school to put together the event.
“They came together for all of us and it’s a cool little sendoff,” he said. “You get to see the people you went to school with. And the Pennsbury Prom is such a big deal. So many people look forward to it. To put this together for us, it’s really nice.”
He also enjoyed the creative spirit evident in many of the Prom arrival floats, from a large boat to antique cars.
“This is just really cool,” said Hamacher. “Everyone adapted for social distancing. The floats are phenomenal. There were some really cool ones. I loved the butterfly. Everything was creative and full of school spirit.”
Hamacher, who played offensive tackle for the Pennsbury Falcons, will be attending Lafayette College in Easton on a football scholarship this fall. He plans on studying chemistry.
Hamacher used the word “adaptability” to describe the Class of 2020. “How we coped, how we adapted speaks well of not only our class, but our whole generation.”
Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula personally stopped by to support the Class of 2020 and to experience the parade.
“I’m so excited that the kids have an opportunity to come together on this campus one more time to celebrate and make a special memory,” he said. “It’s something they’ve been looking forward to for four years.
“Right now I’m feeling joy and sadness,” he continued. “Sadness that they didn’t get the full experience and joy to see their faces, their smiles, their friendships. And looking at this wall of all the places they are going to go is impressive.
“I hope they look back at their high school years with fond memories and hopefully we prepared them well for the success they are headed toward.”
The Prom Arrival Parade is a precursor to graduation, which will take place over two days at Falcon Field in late July.
Due to social distancing, half the class will graduate on one day while the other half graduates on the second day.
“We’re happy to be able to give them that opportunity,” said Gretzula. “It’s not going to be perfect. It’s not everything everybody wanted, but it’s another opportunity for them to come together.
“We also invited the kids back next year (to the Prom),” he added. “What’s outstanding is that the junior class leaders talked with the administration. They were open and willing to share the experience with their peers. That says a lot about the class of our kids,” he said.