Harriton Senior Events and Activities for 2021

One question that has concerned many members of the graduating class of 2021 is Harriton’s plans for prom and graduation in such a complicated year. 

To address these concerns, I spoke with Principal Scott Weinstein, who said that events are still in their planning stages. Currently, Harriton is coordinating with Lower Merion High School and the central office to review their options while prioritizing safety:

“For graduation – we will likely hold a ceremony on campus that is outside. Health and safety guidelines will lead our options, but we likely will have multiple ceremonies instead of just one. This is early thinking but by no means decided at this moment. We would love to preserve the prom but don’t have any info. on that currently.”

I also spoke with multiple Harriton seniors, including Student Council President Andy Wu, Noah Voelkel, and Julianna Schweitzer, to hear their opinions on the remainder of the school year. Here is what they had to say. 

THB: What new activities would you and your peers propose for seniors? 

AW: Normally, student council [hosts] Made on The Main Line, which unfortunately couldn’t happen this year. One of our ideas was [to organize] a flea market [on the Harriton football field] where students and teachers bring in things that they would like to sell.

Another idea we had was students helping people in the community. People would donate to us, and we’d have students go out and help them mow lawns, babysit, or help coach someone in a sport. We thought of simple tasks that could not only help raise money for charity but also engage the entire community around Harriton.

And we’re still trying to organize Dr. Harriton this year. It’ll be in a different format, but I am confident that we can do that this year. 

JS: Maybe [we could organize] grade-wide virtual gatherings with a theme or [have] in-person gatherings on the football field or other related open spaces. 

THB: What do you believe will be the most realistic outcome regarding activities for this year’s seniors? 

AW: There was a meeting with Mr. Weinstein and […] students [from] the principal’s advisory board. For seniors, our two big-ticket items are the prom and graduation, and it’s looking like graduation is plausible. We’re most likely not going to have Saint Joseph’s University as our normal venue, but Mr. Weinstein did say that it is likely we would do something outdoors either in the Harriton field or [at] another outdoor venue. I’m confident that can happen. It’s just a matter of getting seating and reserving a venue and date. Other than that, graduation is not too big of a problem.

NV: I feel like if we got lucky, we could have an increased number of opportunities. Of course, they don’t just have to be ‘passive hanging-out style’ activities, but activities like rock climbing and hiking with friends would be on my to-do list. 

THB: If there is a prom this year, do you have any ideas on how it will be organized?

AW: As for the lack of information [about prom], [students] don’t know who is in charge of what. Mr. Weinstein apologized [for the lack of communication], which is understandable because it’s difficult for him to address the entire student body.

I don’t know too much about the logistics, but I foresee a lot of precautions. People are going to have to wear masks. [Food and catering] might have to change because anything that forces people to take off their masks or be in close contact with each other will be an issue. I do think [a prom] is possible, but it will be structured [differently].

THB: And if there is not a prom this year, do you have any suggestions on how seniors can still enjoy their final year? 

AW: I’ve gotten feedback from a lot of my peers and friends that we want to have graduation and prom […] It feels like a rite of passage— something that you have to experience in your last few years of high school.

It’s kind of a bummer, but I think a good way to go out with a bang and enjoy your senior year is [to spend time with] the people who you value: your closest friends. Do something that you haven’t done before […] I think that would probably be the best way to go about enjoying the last bit of your high school experience. Honestly, I’m pretty excited for [our last few months] even if we didn’t have the school year we were hoping for. 

NV: I would say the best way to spend your last year is with your friends. You may all be leaning into different paths in life, so it is better to appreciate the time you have with them now, or you will regret not doing it in the future.

JS: Prom isn’t the make or break of senior year, but if they can’t put together a formal prom, the school should organize some kind of in-person event, even if it’s on a smaller scale.