The Learning Curve: Penn parties at prom 2022

The Learning Curve: Penn parties at prom 2022

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- They say April showers bring May flowers, which is a good thing with all the boutonnieres and corsages needed for prom season!

On the Learning Curve this week, the team shows how Penn partied for prom.

“I'm excited. I'm a little nervous because my first year but I'm really excited to be here,” said junior, Mariah Forbes.

“All my boys are here. My rugby boys. We take some pictures, but just make some memories. I mean, it's gonna be a fun time tonight,” said senior Alec Hardrict.

“It's amazing, you know, because we've had like, so much taken from us. So I think it's nice to just have like, a first normal prom for everyone,” said junior, Zainab Alrobae.

This year the Century Center in downtown South Bend welcomed just under 1200 students!

“All of the admin at Penn are here. We have three Resource Officers help keep us all safe. And then we have about 1015 teachers here helping out,” said Amy Tiedout.

Tiedout has been a co-chair for Penn’s prom for the last 3 years and says the turnout was incredible.

“We sold almost all the tickets we had available. And I think kids are just excited to be back,” said Tiedout.

Back to the mask optional scene many missed.

At the start of the pandemic in 2020—prom was canceled all together as Penn tried to mitigate a potential super-spreader event.

In 2021, prom went on!

Just a differently than before.

Students took over the football field to dance and socialize on the turf, celebrating a break from the stressors of school and the world still fighting the coronavirus.

While COVID-19 isn’t completely behind us, in 2022, students and staff showed up in troves to experience this year’s theme “Palace of Cards.”

“We have a game section. So we have a lot of cards and dice kind of games down there,” said Tiedout.

Some students were wanting to up the ante with black jack!

Others wanted a special moment to themselves.

“This is her first senior prom and I want to make as perfect as possible,” said senior Roman Masterson.

Masterson and his date, fellow senior, Mariana Baker have been dating since February and wanted to focus on each other.

“Just sitting around taking pictures. As you can tell, everybody's screaming in there. So we wanted to get away from that,” said Masterson.

“We took photos of we're planning on taking more!” said Baker.

Fellow classmate, Alec Hardrict, started the day with a win!

“We had a rugby match this morning,” said Hardrict.

After a busy game day, Alec made sure to still suit up with his rugby teammates, trading in the jersey for a fancy west coast suit!

“My dad got it all from LA. Oh this coat is from LA, these chains from LA. My brother actually was gonna get it from him for his prom two years ago but that didn't happen because COVID So I got to take in the suit and all that so it fit perfectly. It was perfect,” said Hardrict.

Everyone going all out, dressing to the nines!

“I got my dress in Chicago at peaches, which I absolutely love it there. They got my scissors from my mom and then I got my flower from my friends,” said Forbes.

Creating those picture-perfect memories, even if prom was a last-minute decision.

“I actually decided to come yesterday night I went and bought a dress,” said Penn High School alumna, Wandida Mutimbaioka.

Mutimbaioka is a freshman in college who decided to come back and make the high school prom memories she wasn’t able to experience.

“I actually loved it at Penn high school. So I decided I'd come back and experience prom again for the last year because I won't probably be able to experience it ever again. I'm loving the vibes,” said Mutimbaioka.

A blessing in disguise for Wandida and her date, Blake McCloud.

“Like, I honestly have been wishing for the day that we could do something like this again. You know, like it kind of reminds me of like freshman year when we all went to like, formal. So it's kind of like we're seeing everybody like all dressed up again. It was kind of nostalgic in that way,” said McCloud.

Nostalgia wrapped up in pretty dresses and bows as students danced their hearts out—crowning the 2022 Prom King and Queen, seniors Ellie Clarke and Klayton Ahulman!

“This is so exciting for us. Something out of a movie!” said Clarke.

While this movie scene ended at 11 p.m. prom 2023 is already in the works.

“Prom is like a year-round planning event. And I love doing stuff like this. I mean, I usually am giving kids homework, so I'm glad to be able to give them something fun,” said Tiedout.

Whether you were there to socialize, dance, watch or just say you went, it’s clear there is a lot to celebrate this year and Penn High School is doing it right.

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