Chips were down but spirits were high last Saturday evening during “Casino Night” at PA.  Extensive effort and collaboration between student council, upper school administration, faculty, and custodial staff delivered a fun-filled memorable evening for upperclassmen.

Prom is undoubtedly the most memorable dance of a typical school year for Providence Academy students. This year, that’s more true than ever, as it was the only dance. All year, students waited anxiously for news of the upcoming night in the wake of other canceled events. But, in the spirit of keeping life as close to normal as possible, and thanks to extensive collaboration in the PA community, Prom was held for the first time in two years.

Kristin Welch ‘22 commented in anticipation of the event, “Most schools didn’t even have prom this year so I think anything we have is going to be a fun first prom for the juniors and seniors.” 

With Providence standards for student conduct as well as COVID regulations to uphold, in addition to the logistics involved in hosting Prom on campus, nothing could be left up to lady luck. Student Council and faculty put in hours of work planning, while monitoring a very fluid public health situation. Staff and student council members set up decorations, food, music, prizes, tickets, and scheduled eating times for social distancing, to ensure the evening was a success. 

This year’s theme, Casino Royale, was unique compared to past themes in that it encouraged activities other than dancing. Raffle tables were set up around the perimeter of the Great Room with large tables in the middle for card and casino games. It worked perfectly to have the setup in the Great Room, leading outside to the courtyard, allowing half the space to be mask-free for eating and dancing. 

A.J. Hedberg ’21 and Seamus Healy ’21 play a game of blackjack while Mr. Skemp watches the fun.

Betting on good weather, a large tent was pitched for a dining space to eat a quick dinner from the My Burger food truck. The courtyard also housed the DJ booth, with Mr. John Wagner playing both classic and contemporary songs from a student-selected list.  S’mores, snacks, and yard games completed the affair

Even teachers dressed up for the event. European and US History teacher Mr. Edward Hester wore a kilt, complete with all the traditional Scottish accessories.  Hester’s attire was much talked about among students in anticipation of Saturday evening.

He commented, “If the students are going to dress up, I might as well have fun with it too.”

US and European History teacher Mr. Hester with his kilt, watching the festivities.

Other than the venue change and mask requirement, a noticeable difference was the initial lack of dancing. Perhaps this was due to the original thought that dancing wouldn’t be allowed, or the wide variety of alternative activities available that drew people away from the dance floor. 

Alumnus Charlie Rossman ‘20 commented, “My heart goes out to the seniors this year; I remember (and probably will never forget) how much fun my [junior] prom was.”

Imagining dancing wouldn’t be permitted, Rossman continued, “Prom itself is a dance, so the fact that [students] could have a fun night planned even without that big aspect is great.”

Although prom was atypical, it was still a blast, with yard games, a fun socially distanced food option, professional-grade photo booth pictures, poker and other card games, raffles with great prizes, and much more. 

“I am so glad that we can end such a tough year with one fun night together”, remarked Student Council Member Emma Kelly ‘22.