Prom. It’s on. Six celebrations to be held at The Westin
Six separate proms are being planned for this July to give high school seniors an opportunity to celebrate one more time before they head off to college, the workforce, or the military.
Ed Bolter, of Lamar Advertising, said he was thinking of one high school, which his son attended, when he came up with the idea. After meeting with others, it was quickly decided that all the Cape high schools had to be included.
Bolter said he was home watching a remake of an old movie about a group of kids in a religious community having their dance cancelled. He said if they could turn a whole town around and hold the dance, why could it not be done in Cape Coral.
Mayor Joe Coviello said a few weeks ago he was out to lunch with Bolter and Joe Mazurkiewicz, of BJM Consulting, when an idea of holding a prom was discussed.
“They came up with the idea and asked me to spearhead doing it,” he said. “I reached out to the Westin Conference Center and they were 100 percent on board with hosting the event. From there it took off.”
Support poured in from Cape Coral Rotary Foundation, BJM Consulting, Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, Ecological Laboratories, Cape Coral IAFF Local 2424, Cape Coral I.U.P.A.T. Local 2301, Cape Coral Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 33, Zak’s Jewelry, Storm Smart and Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant.
A high school prom will be held for seniors at all of the Cape Coral schools, as well as North Fort Myers High School where many students living in Cape Coral attend.
Oasis High School will kick off the consecutive days of prom on Sunday, July 26, followed by North Fort Myers High School on Monday, July 27. Ida Baker High School will follow on Tuesday, July 28, Island Coast High School on Wednesday, July 29, Mariner High School on Thursday, July 30 and Cape Coral High School on Friday, July 31.
“There will be six proms in succession,” Coviello said.
Each prom will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village.
Personal postcard invitations will be sent to the seniors. He said seniors will have the opportunity to register for the prom, at their school, through an event planning software program.
“Those initiations are going out shortly,” Coviello said. “We also have Cape Coral electronic billboards (sharing) information about the high school (proms) and dates.”
There will be many safety measures in place for the proms.
“We have the police chief and fire chief to help with security and make it a safe environment,” Coviello said for the prom. “We are incorporating the resource officers that normally would be at the schools to be at the event also.”
There will also be hand sanitizer at the door, as well as throughout the ballroom. He said temperatures will also be taken of all seniors that come in, to make sure everyone has the right temperature.
Social distancing will also take place, as well as groups of 10 chairs set up throughout the ballroom.
Volunteers from the CERT team, who have undergone background checks, will be the chaperones at the prom.
The prom will feature a DJ, photo booth and dance floor.
“The seniors, this year, missed out on so much because of COVID-19. It had a huge impact on our economy, social well-being and just getting out,” Coviello said. “Our seniors, not only here in Cape Coral, but nationally, missed out on a lot of their senior year. Thirty-percent of their being at school . . . (and) graduation, grad days, and of course they missed their prom.”
He said he thought the prom would be a great opportunity for the business community, as well as the community at large and political leaders to create a fun time for seniors, so they can gather one more time before going off to college, the workforce, or into the military.
Although putting together the prom took a lot of time and effort, which was tough at times, Coviello said he is so pleased to be a part of Prom 2020.
As of Thursday afternoon, he said they have raised close to $20,000 in donations and they are still going strong due to more sponsors that want to help.
“We are at the point now that we are able to do the event, have photo booths and the DJs. The more funds we raise the more things we can do,” Coviello said.
Those additional items they would like to include is providing prom favors for the students and a dessert table with a server.
“It’s all a matter of raising more funding, so we can do it. I have already seen tremendous support from our businesses community,” he said.
Coviello said Cape Coral is very resilient and its has come together, with this particular project like he has never seen before.
“I’m excited to be out at the forefront,” he said.
“They mayor, between organizing the hotel and fundraising, has done a phenomenal job for these kids,” Bolter said.