As the pandemic cancels many milestones and traditions on the Coastside, a group of local parents is organizing an event for Half Moon Bay High School seniors who spent the entirety of 12th grade online.

Prom and formal dances, like so many aspects of high school, were a no-go last year. But after much discussion between students, parents and school administrators, seniors and their dates will be able to attend the Half Moon Bay Senior Formal 2021 on June 5 at Long Branch Farms.

Because this is not a school-sanctioned event, the parents organizing it are fundraising from scratch and are looking for any donations or sponsorships to help lower the costs. The event’s GoFundMe page, titled “HMB Senior Formal 2021,” has a goal of $10,000. The post says each donation of $50 allows one senior to attend the event.

Tickets will go on sale in May. To learn more about the event, including the upcoming “Senior Formal Dress Giveaway” on April 24, search for “HMB Senior Formal 2021” on Facebook and Instagram. Ink Spell bookstore is supporting the event with 10 percent of proceeds on May 7 donated to the formal. Use the code “senior formal” at checkout.

“We’re going to be following all county guidelines and restrictions,” said Angela Bye, president of the school’s Boosters Athletic Corp. “And we want it to be a safe event for the kids, but also a memorable one so they can have something to remember from their senior year.”

Under the orange tier, San Mateo County residents can attend outdoor events with modifications, according to the California Department of Public Health. Live musical performances are capped at 25 percent capacity. There are 214 seniors at the high school, and Long Branch Farms has an estimated capacity of 1,600. Face coverings will be required, as will temperature checks and getting a negative COVID-19 test.

One potential advantage to having the formal later in the year is that these seniors will be eligible to receive a vaccine starting April 15. Under new guidelines from the CDPH, which go into effect April 15, counties in the orange tier can hold outdoor events that can hold up to 100 people, and up to 300 outdoors if tested or vaccinated. Once in the yellow tier, outdoor events can expand to 200 people. Fully vaccinated groups could rise to 400 outdoors and 200 indoors in that tier.

Organizers don’t expect every member of the senior class to come, based on the number of tickets sold at the last formal dance and because not every family will feel comfortable with a student attending the event given health concerns. But for those who do attend, organizers hope it will be a safe and celebratory moment for a class that had many traditions uprooted in the last year.

“We’re just really hoping that the community will see how much the kids have lost, take part in this, and help us out,” Bye said.

This version changes the name and date of the Senior Formal Dress Giveaway. 

(1) comment


Here is the link to a GoFundMe that will help reduce the cost of tickets for the Seniors, hopefully making accessible to all who want to attend.

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