Students from Plymouth High School are headed to the Century Center in South Bend for their prom on Saturday night.
Dialogue among parents on Facebook and other social media has been centered on the safety of having kids travel out of town and how supervision is handled.
Daniel Tyree, superintendent of Plymouth Schools, said, “It hasn’t been that long since my own three children were in high school. I was worried too,”
According to Tyree, the move of the prom from the high school gym became necessary to accommodate the number of students attending. Tyree said, “We basically outgrew the gymnasium and there was no air-conditioning, making it miserable some years.” He added, “There was a move to the school’s multi-purpose room and adjoining hallways, but the area was even smaller than the gym.”
Tyree said parents and others who graduated from PHS remember the fun of decorating the gym. “When many of them were in school, the number of juniors was probably around 200. Now the junior class is nearer 275.” He said the amount of time needed to decorate is prohibitive for most PHS juniors who are involved in extra-curricular activities.
Tyree indicted that the South Bend venue was considered after learning that approximately 75 percent of the prom goers were eating at restaurants in South Bend before the prom. Tyree said, “They were traveling out of town anyhow.”
Tyree said, “The Century Center is not only beautiful, it is perfect for supervision.” Tyree said the kids congregate in a “pit” making it easier for chaperones and parents to keep an eye on them. Tyree said, “At the Century Center, kids can’t sneak outside without someone seeing them.” Students are not allowed to leave the prom and come back in except for such things as retrieving something from their car. “If a students needs to get something, they are escorted to their car by an adult.” Tyree said.
He added, “PHS has so many doors that it would be easier for kids to go out a door and have someone open another door for them to come back in.”
Tyree said many couples are choosing to go together and using a limousine service. Tyree said, “Eight to ten couples can ride in one limousine.” “Parents can feel better knowing their 16 or 17 year-old kids are not driving.” he said.
Tyree said, “This (prom) is probably the most well chaperoned event of the year.” He said chaperones include PHS principals and assistant principals, junior class sponsors, parents, and perhaps other staff members.
Carol Anders Correspondent