Proms & Graduations: High schools adapt events to pandemic protocols

April 7, 2021 Cranberry Local News

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Traditional high school rites of spring are being altered again this year by pandemic precautions.

Proms are being held outside or not at all, and most graduation ceremonies will be held in the school stadiums following whatever state COVID-19 protocols will be in effect.


Butler Senior High School is planning to hold an outdoor prom on campus May 7 for seniors.

Principal John Wyllie said the main bus circle outside the high school will serve as the venue, and a DJ will play music. The cafeteria will be open with drinks available and to provide a place for students to sit.

The lobby of the auditorium will be available as an air-conditioned cool-off spot in the event of hot weather.

The commencement ceremony for the high school has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 4 at Art Bernardi Stadium. The rain dates are being discussed. The school will follow the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines that are in effect at the time.

Seneca Valley

Seneca Valley High School senior class officers, as well as the senior class adviser, have announced preliminary plans for a May 15 prom.

The plan is to host it outside on the secondary campus, utilizing parking areas. Class officers have developed highly creative ideas for this event, including a “street fair” and featuring the traditional grand march, which will be livestreamed for parents.

The officers are working out the details and more information will be released as it becomes available.

Seneca Valley High School graduation is tentatively slated for either May 27, 28 or 29.

The big unknown is what the allowable capacity of NexTier Stadium will be in late May.

Right now COVID-19 regulations allow only 20% of capacity on the field and 20% in the stands. If all seniors graduate on the same day at the same time, each senior will only be allowed two guests.

Capacity limits could increase by May. However, there is a possibility the school may need to graduate students over two days if capacity were reduced because of more spikes or surges of the coronavirus.

The school will be prepared to go forward with a commencement, but it won't make a specific decision until it knows what rules will be in effect.


Mars Area High School will have its prom outside May 7 at the Mars Athletic Complex.

While the Mars district scheduled a June 3 graduation ceremony, the details and logistics are still being worked out.

Karns City

Karns City Area High School has slated its prom for May 7, either inside or outside, depending on what state pandemic rules are in effect.

Graduation is June 4 at the high school.


Moniteau High School will have its prom May 8 at Betsy's Barn in Portersville.

Moniteau plans to have an outside graduation ceremony, weather permitting, on June 9.

Slippery Rock

Slippery Rock Area High School will stage its prom May 7 at Betsy's Barn in Portersville.

Graduation for Slippery Rock Area High School students is set for 7 p.m. June 4 at the school's Troy Allen Stadium. There is a rain date for June 5, but the time has not been determined.

Currently the school is permitted half capacity for the stadium and will ask families to limit the number of participants.

The school will still respect physical distancing and all protocols that are required.


Union High School plans a graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. June 2 on the football field using its bleachers for guests, with a rain date of June 4. All outside guidelines of the state Department of Health will be followed.

Parents of Union High School students, not the school, will host a May 1 prom, “A Night Under the Stars,” at Fox Farm, 243 Long Lane West, Rimersburg.

A presentation of vehicles will be at 5 p.m., with a promenade starting at 5:45 p.m. on the facility's back deck. Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. and the prom ends at 10 p.m. A photographer is scheduled for formal pictures.

The prom is for juniors and seniors at Union High School. Attendees may invite a student in ninth or 10th grade, as well as an individual who does not attend Union who is under age 21.

North Catholic

North Catholic High School in Cranberry Township has listed June 5 as the date of its commencement at an as-yet-to-be determined location.

A-C Valley

Allegheny-Clarion Valley High School plans to have its commencement beginning at 7 p.m. May 28 on the high school football field.

The prom is scheduled a week later on June 5.


Knoch High School plans to have an outside prom under tents May 7.

Its commencement ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 28 in the Knoch High School Stadium, with a rain date of May 29.


Freeport Area High School is not having a prom this year. It has tentatively set June 8 as the date for its graduation ceremony planned for outside in its football stadium.

Grove City

Grove City Area High School will have an outdoor graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. June 4 at Forker Field.

The high school will not host a prom this year.

Portersville Christian

Portersville Christian School has set its graduation for June 5, although details haven't been settled.

The Christian school doesn't host a prom, although a parent-hosted event is tentatively scheduled for May 14.

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Eric Freehling

Eric Freehling

Eric was born in Butler and grew up in Winfield Township. He graduated from Knoch High School and later Indiana University of Pa. with a degree in Journalism. After working as a reporter and editor with the Kittanning Leader-Times, he moved to Bloomington, Illinois, where he worked at The Pantagraph newspaper as a copy editor, page designer, reporter and business editor. Freehling later worked at the Houston Chronicle as senior copy editor and the Chicago Tribune as a copy editor on the business desk. He moved back to Pennsylvania in 2010 and joined the Butler Eagle as Community Editor in January 2011.