NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — The usual spring talent show was out of the question last year and this year because of COVID, and that left the senior class of Narragansett High School high and dry at trying to raise money to hold the prom.
This year, if the class is able to hold a dance they’ll have the money, thanks to a local parent and lots of donors.
Diane Hepburn organized a GoFundMe page for the Class of 2021 with the hope of giving them some money to pay for a few memorable events before the class graduates.
She set an initial goal of $5,000, but has quickly passed that mark after an outpouring of support and sharing online. The new goal is to raise $7,000.
Senior year should be the most memorable and fun year of a student’s life, Hepburn and other parents say. COVID has caused the loss of sports, theater and clubs.
“The pandemic cut short our children’s junior year and it has continued to put a damper on so many experiences and traditions that define the end of the high school journey at NHS,” Hepburn said. “The kids have made all kinds of adjustments to this new normal and I must say, they have made the most of it, but they miss celebrating and spending time together as a class.”
Among those seniors are Hepburn’s son, Shea Hazard, along with Aivan Durfee and Nick Archambault. They are all members of the Student Council – Hazard is president, Archambault is vice president and Durfee is the historian.
This week is the school’s Spirit Week.
“Because of COVID we had to dial it down,” Archambault said. “Right now we’re dressing up for a week and having a field day type thing that’s COVID-friendly and separated.”
The funds will be used to host events to celebrate the 105 seniors and enable them to have a prom – something they were unable to have last year.
“We want these kids to enjoy a festive, fun and exciting time that will leave them with memories that they will never forget,” Hepburn said.
The prom typically takes place in June.
“This year we have to kind of bend the traditions a little bit,” Durfee said. “We normally hold the prom at the Dunes Club but we’re waiting on the governor to make the call about whether we can have it there. We’re looking at new venues like outside venues.”
What the prom would look like is still up in the air. Other questions remain about graduation and other en-of-year events, such as awards banquets.
“We’re playing it day by day, basically,” Hepburn said.
The seniors hope to have a more communal graduation in 2021, after COVID forced the Class of 2020 to hold a ‘diploma-by-appointment’ type of socially distanced ceremony at the gazebo at the Towers rather than at URI’s Ryan Center.
Any funds not used this year will go into a fund for reunions and other future events for the class.
“It was very hard to fund-raise ourselves because of the pandemic,” Durfee said. “We didn’t have a lot of money in our account for events like this. Now this money can go to help fund these end of the year events and we can have a semi-normal senior year experience.”
The link to the fundraising page is https://gofund.me/c31bf50d