Prom 2015: A big night at the Big House

Huron and Pioneer high schools to hold proms at Michigan Stadium

Senior Julien Heidt, Pioneer High School social committee co-chair, tests the punch that would be served at the prom.
At a taste-testing Friday afternoon, Pioneer High School senior Julien Heidt, Pioneer High School social committee co-chair, tests the punch that may be served at the prom. Michigan Stadium is visible out the window behind her.

With its kitty-corner location across the street, Michigan Stadium is a constant presence in the lives of every Pioneer High School student.

Now, for the first time, the Jack Roth Stadium Club at the Big House will be the setting of the Pioneer Senior Prom on May 22.

Huron High School will also hold its prom there. It’s May 15 gala is fittingly called, “Friday Night Lights.”

The venue is becoming more and more popular as Michigan school districts learn the historic location is available.

Huron High School Principal Jennifer Hein said her colleagues at Dexter High School were enthusiastic about the experience last year, when it became just the second school (Durand High School was the first) to hold a prom there.

“There is a definite “wow” factor to the Big House,” said Hein, noting that for the last several years, Huron has held prom at the EMU Student Center, which she said is also a wonderful facility.

Huron Assistant Principal Marcus Edmondson said he’s excited about the venue, as are the kids.

“It’s the Big House,” noting that students had asked about it ever since learning that Dexter had held its prom there. “Some kids have lived here their entire lives and never been on the field.”

Beth Skochelak of Katherine's Catering—one of two local catering companies under consideration for the Pioneer Senior Prom—talks to staff and students about the menu.
Beth Skochelak of Katherine’s Catering—one of two local catering companies under consideration for the Pioneer Senior Prom—talks to staff and students about the menu.

“The students are extremely excited,” said Taryn Reid, Pioneer High School senior class secretary. “They voted in the fall as to where they wanted prom to be—back at EMU or at the Big House.  We took a group of students to tour the event venue and they loved it! The staff is also excited about the new venue, as a lot of them have not been to the Stadium Club.”

Dinner is included in the Pioneer prom ticket price of $60. Last year’s prom in the ballroom of the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center was $25, but did not include dinner.

Huron’s prom tickets are $50, and include food, but not a sit-down dinner.

About 450 students are expected to attend each prom.

There are several advantages to a prom at the Big House, the first being its close location, said Reid.

“We look out our school windows everyday and see the Big House which we take for granted on most days,” said the Pioneer student.  “Most students and families are huge U-M fans, so having the opportunity to have senior prom while looking out on the turf is an amazing end to your high school legacy.”

Prom attendees will be escorted by groups to tour the football locker room and to have photo opportunities on the field before returning to the Stadium Club for the dance.

PHS Student Council President Brett Boehman said the change in venue is a great way to generate more interest in prom.

“It’ll give it a better chance of living up to the hype,” he said. “I feel like it would give more of a pleasant, lasting memory of Pioneer. It’s a bigger thing; a fancier venue.”

Student Countil Advisor Brooke McCully said interest in prom seems to have waned in the past few years when it was mostly seen as just a fancier dance than homecoming.

“This, we’re making more of an experience,” she said.

Pioneer Assistant Principal Jason Skiba last fall suggested the idea of holding prom at the stadium.

“While there are a number of students at Pioneer who have the option to go to the stadium and see the game,” he said, “it offers a unique opportunity for every student.”

Community High School’s prom will be May 1 at the Eastern Michigan University Conference Center. Skyline High School’s prom will be May 9 at The Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel.


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