ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Cloquet prom: Footloose, mask-free in school parking lot

A night of outdoor dancing May 8 granted juniors and seniors a semi-normal end to a very unusual school year.

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C01.jpg
Students jump around and dance during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at the Cloquet High School in Cloquet. The easing of Minnesota's COVID-19 restrictions allowed organizers to have an outdoor event where students did not have to wear masks. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

The staff parking lot at Cloquet High School was an unusual sight as approximately 130 students celebrated prom the evening of Saturday, May 8.

This was the first prom experience for most of Cloquet’s students, both juniors and seniors, after the cancellation of last year’s dance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From roughly 8-10 p.m., a DJ blasted music while unmasked juniors and seniors danced in the center of the lot.

Lights and white tents illuminated the space, with teacher chaperones and a Cloquet police officer forming a protective border around the small area.

ADVERTISEMENT

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C02.jpg
Cloquet High School juniors Reese Turnbull (left) and Rylee Burkhart dance during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Cloquet senior Ethan Wilton shared that while this unusual night would be his first and last prom, he was still having fun.

“It’s different, but I’m glad we had one,” Cloquet senior Miranda Weber said.

While the dance was originally planned with strict COVID-19 guidelines — including masks and limiting student interactions to pods of six — the recent loosening of restrictions by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz led to a more traditional dance structure.

“It’s been about as normal as possible," Cloquet senior Cade Anderson said. “We’re really lucky to have it in the first place.”

Senior Brenna Mattson shared that she was wearing the dress originally planned for last year's prom. She said she was happy to be able to have an occasion to wear it this year.

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C03.jpg
Students dance to the "Cha Cha Slide" during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at the Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

ADVERTISEMENT

The dance was held outside without food, drink or a photographer, but students were allowed to mix and mingle unmasked. The Grand March preceded the dance and was livestreamed, with limited audience members permitted in person.

For most students, this was their first time seeing their classmates in person, without masks in over a year.

“It’s weird seeing all these people without face masks on,” Cloquet junior Rylee Burkhart said. “I feel like I haven’t seen … their faces in over a year.”

Burkhart shared that her prom group went to Duluth before the dance to eat and take photos. She said the students were willing to work with anything at this point in the year, so long as they got to have a prom of some kind.

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C06.jpg
Students cheer as Cristina Genita does the worm dance in the dance circle during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

“This is probably the most school fun I’ve had in a long time,” she said, emphasizing that Cloquet teachers deserve a lot of credit for helping provide a fun end to the school year.

Cloquet teacher and junior adviser Chandra Allen helped coordinate the event with the junior class and said everything went very smoothly.

ADVERTISEMENT

Allen explained that the main concern with planning was possible bad weather, but with clear skies and mild temperatures, it ended up not being much of a problem.

Smiles were seen on the faces of everyone in attendance, with the only complaint being that 40 degrees was a little cold for those wearing dresses.

Cloquet Choir Director Larissa Donnelly, who has been teaching at Cloquet for about three years, volunteered to chaperone Saturday’s event. She said she was happy to see everyone together again, including some full-time distance learners whom she hadn’t seen in over a year.

“It’s so good to see them happy,” she said. “I’m so glad for them.”

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C05.jpg
Colorful dresses were a common sight during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C07.jpg
Abigail Gaffaney (left) dances with Jasmine Stofferahn during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

ADVERTISEMENT

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C08.jpg
Logan Dushkin leads a conga line during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at the Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C09.jpg
Alex Zezan takes a photo of Maddie Young (from left), Brynn Martin and Addie Loeb during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C10.jpg
Kaya Fairbanks watches the dancing during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at the Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C04.jpg
Keelee Grashorn wears heart-shaped glasses while dancing during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

ADVERTISEMENT

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C11.jpg
Brynn Martin (left) and Sadie Senich grab suitcoats from their dates to keep warm during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

051121.N.DNT.CLOQUETPROM.C12.jpg
Damra Allen (from left), Maya Fairbanks and Ethan Wilton relax during the Cloquet Prom on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Cloquet High School. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

What To Read Next
Get Local

ADVERTISEMENT