Solving a 'prom'blem

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After wintry weather forced the postponement of the MFL MarMac prom from April 14 to April 20, students, school officials, local businesses and staff at the Dousman House worked together to make the most of the unique scenario. No matter when it was held, the prom, with the theme “Roaring Twenties,” was a night to remember for many students. That was especially true for seniors Derek Larson and Chelbe Feuerhelm (couple on the left), who were crowned king and queen, and juniors Garret Keehner and Keagan Moose, who were honored as prince and princess. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Students, businesses, venue work together when MFL MarMac’s prom is postponed

By Audrey Posten and Correne Martin

What do you do when your prom gets rescheduled? Last week, MFL MarMac went through a crash course in the scenario, with students, school officials, local businesses and venue staff coming together to make the most of a situation that had never before occurred in school history.

When word came in the morning of April 14 that the school’s prom, scheduled for that evening at the Dousman House, in Prairie du Chien, would have to be postponed due to impending sleet, snow and ice, students were initially disappointed.

“We’d been cleaning cars since 8 that morning,” said junior Garret Keehner. “When we went inside, we realized it was canceled.” The work, he added, felt like it had been done for nothing.

“I was worried about rescheduling everything and having time for everything,” admitted junior Hannah Schutte, who was in the middle of her hair appointment when she found out.

But with no interest in traveling in the wintry conditions, most students supported and understood the decision, Keehner noted.

The prom’s new date was set for Friday, April 20. Plans began immediately to assure it could be held at the same venue, following the same schedule.

MFL MarMac teacher and adviser Diane Rothmeyer credited the district’s superintendent, Dale Crozier, and high school principal, Larry Meyer, with making many of the calls.

Students were also given the go-ahead to re-schedule appointments during the school day on Friday, as long as they had permission from a parent or guardian.

Terri Tippery, Dousman House manager, said the postponement didn’t require much rearranging on her end. 

“I felt worse for the kids than us, really,” she said. “I don’t know that a prom’s ever been rescheduled before because of a snowstorm.”

When she first heard about the change of date early on Saturday morning, April 14, from Meyer, she called her hairdresser right away to spread the news. 

“She had done one girl’s hair and had another in the chair,” Tippery added.

Next, she made contact with the event center’s caterer, The Barn Restaurant, since they were slated to bring food in for prom. 

“I was gonna start cooking at noon that day, but thankfully we knew by then,” said head chef Kerry Gilbertson.  

The postponement also stopped other local businesses in their tracks. 

Some of the 15 to 20 orders each of corsages and boutonnieres had already left Outdoor Creations, in Monona, by Saturday morning, said florist Sue Rose.

“Some they left here, and some were taken home,” she said. “We told them to bring them in [Thursday] if they wanted to redo or replace any flowers.”

It was all done at no charge, she shared. 

Similar to Tippery’s hairdresser, Kristin Morrissey was in the middle of the first of four prom appointments at her Aquarius Salon and Spa, in Monona, when the news trickled in. She assured all the girls they could return, at no cost, on Friday to have their hair and makeup done.

“I have a kid in high school, and I think it’s important for the girls to be able to get their hair done,” Morrissey said.

She said several other community members were scheduled to have their hair done Friday, but were willing to come in Thursday instead so she could devote the day to the MFL MarMac girls.

Kayla Taylor, who performs hair and makeup services at Creative Enz Salon and Spa, in McGregor, also opened her Friday schedule so her prom girls could return.

“I did some moving around,” she said. “It’s not their fault.”

Ashley Christensen, of Mist-ified, LLC, in Prairie du Chien, welcomed students to return for a complimentary fresh spray tan.

Wall Street and Peebles, in Prairie du Chien, as well as Holly’s Bridal, in Elkader, allowed the boys to keep their tuxes through the week.

“All the businesses—the tux places, hair stylists and flower places—have been so awesome,” remarked Rothmeyer.

Back at the Dousman House, Tippery, not wanting the students to have to drive to Prairie du Chien in the snow, enlisted the help of her sister and brother-in-law to take down decorations and place them in storage for a week. 

“We tore down what we needed to, because of the Dancing with the Hawkettes [fundraiser, also at the Dousman House, April 15],” she stated.

Since the Dousman House was also hosting a Discover Wisconsin premiere for an upcoming Prairie du Chien episode on Thursday, April 19—the day before MFL MarMac’s rescheduled prom—the students were unable to get back into the establishment and put their personalized decorative touches on the space until prom day itself, Friday morning, April 20.

Over 30 members of the class helped decorate the first time around, erecting “Roaring Twenties”-themed pieces, stringing lights and setting the tables for dinner.

There was just a skeleton crew Friday morning. Schutte was the lone girl, since many of the others were getting their hair done. Set-up wasn’t too difficult, though, said Keehner.

“The first time, there was a lot of building,” he explained. “Now, it’s just putting it back out.”

“The Dousman House has been extremely cooperative and great to deal with,” shared teacher and adviser Jaydeane Berns.

The decorations were short-lived, however. The prom sponsors planned to tear them down by midnight on Friday, making way for the Dousman House’s Saturday event: the Prairie du Chien High School Junior Prom.

Prairie’s prom adviser, Heather DeBruin, said, other than the time of decorating changing from Friday to Saturday morning at 7 a.m., the school was hardly affected by the scheduling dilemma.

“We were originally decorating Friday. Although some of the girls were a bit bummed having to decorate and then rushing to their hair and nail appointments, I can say we overall feel pretty blessed,” DeBruin stated. “The dance itself, post prom, all of our materials and events were overall the same. I know that MFL MarMac will have a long day of set-up, their dance, and clean-up, but we are all troopers. We can’t control Mother Nature, so we instead work together as a team. I would not have wanted our kids driving in that storm, so I completely appreciate what MFL MarMac decided.”

With the sun shining on Friday, and temperatures in the 50s, Keehner said the schedule change turned out well for MFL MarMac.

“It’ll be a lot better now,” he said of prom. “It’s nicer weather.”

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