As many people know, the COVID-19 virus put a damper on thousands of activities around the world. As of the end of March, schools ceased to exist outside of an online platform. Multiple schools’ sports and other activities were cancelled with no postponement date in sight.
All of the cancellations also meant that many students were not going to have the opportunity to walk the stage for graduation, or attend prom.
A few Madill parents decided that the school’s prom being cancelled just was not good enough, and wanted to create a special night for their high schoolers. Michelle Chapman may have graduated from Kingston, but has been a Wildcat since 2003. This means her children – three sons and two step-sons – were also Wildcats. She said she has one left in school, her youngest is entering his freshman year.
Chapman said her son Ryan was the one who approached her about prom, and got the bronco bucking, so to speak.
“My son actually asked if I would be willing to help the seniors put on a prom by renting the Bronco Ballroom,” she said. “I’m guessing they were planning on just figuring out a way to do it for themselves, it just meant that much to them.”
Chapman said that since they were forced to already miss so much of their senior year due to the pandemic, she felt like it was the right thing to do. She said it did not take long for word to get around, and the offers to help came rolling in.
“Kyla Selvy ended up texting me that she heard I was going to try to put on a prom/graduation party for them and wanted to help,” Chapman said.
A Facebook page was created for the parents and a request for help was sent out. An initial meeting for any parents wishing to help was set up at Hobo Jos, and Chapman said that is when the volunteer train began.
“We had several parents show up to help,” Chapman said, “it was really heartwarming to know we had so many parents ready and willing to help.”
The parents created a budget and realized that financial assistance would be needed. What initially began as a public post on Facebook, turned into a fundraiser that brought in more than enough donations to host the event.
The event ended up more spectacular that any had imagined. There was a DJ, and food catered by Justin Germany – who went above and beyond by adding items at no cost. There was beautiful decorations and a photographer, Callie Gray, who offered her services at no charge.
Chapman said they wanted to make sure the students were able to get the full senior prom experience, and was satisfied by the results.
“We really tried to cover all the aspects of a true prom for them and I feel like it worked out really well,” she said. “So many people in the community donated time, effort, and money. Just looking back I’m just so proud to be from such a great community.”
She said that several parents offered to help supervise and Madill Chief of Police donated his time to be sure everybody was safe.
The parents notified the school board about the event, but since it was not a school sanctioned event, no special permissions were needed. Chapman noted that the school used some of the money that the kids raised to purchase all the seniors custom t-shirts.
Chapman said she is thankful for the event and how the community came together to host a special night for the seniors.
“It was a lot of work, but I’m so glad we were able to pull it off for these kids that have already had to sacrifice so much this year,” she said. “I want to thank everyone in the community that either donated time, effort, money or any support for this event. It would not have been possible without everyone’s help and I know it meant so much to the kids. We saw so many smiles and they made some great memories! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It’s a great day to be a Wildcat!”
Chapman also gave gratitude for the parents who went above and beyond.
She sent out a special thanks to Kyla Selvy, Danyelle Hoedebeck, Michelle Gilstrap, Teri McDaniels, Mindy Robertson, Christa Chapa, Kayla Arnold, to name a few, for all their hard work. She also said the husbands worked hard, as well.