CALLAWAY/ARNOLD - As school funds become harder and harder to come by, many rural schools are finding innovative ways to try and save money. For a number of area schools that fat-trimming has come in the way of consolidating athletic programs. For two area high schools, however, that consolidation has gone one step further.
This spring, students and Arnold High School and Callaway High School will be attending the same Prom - and it was the students idea.
The two schools voted last year to consolidate their sports programs, and when the bell rang in the Fall 2010 academic year, the Callaway Bears and Arnold Cardinals had become the South Loup Bobcats. Students from both school were allowed to give input throughout the entire consolidation process.
What may have surprised some of the parents and faculty of the two schools was just how well the kids actually got along. By early October the student bodies of both schools were talking about co-oping their proms, and had taken an informal vote of the students showing the majority in both schools were in favor of the idea. Some of the reasons the students cited for co-oping included increasing attendance and reduces costs for the junior class at both schools, who traditionally pay for the proms.
Schools board members and parents had more reluctance in the beginning of the discussion than the students did. Some were concerned that the schools might lose their individual identity by co-oping more than just their athletic programs, while others were concerned about having students out on the road and the distance of travel late at night. However, all adults involved agreed they were pleased the student bodies were getting along so well, and would do their best to accommodate the students' wishes.
Prom wouldn't be the first social event the two schools have combined; they did the same for Homecoming. In that case, each school selected its Homecoming king and queen for the student body and royalty from both schools was crowned following the football game.
At a joint meeting of the two schools' boards Nov. 15, 2010, after a lengthly discussion and sometimes debate, both boards agreed to combine their junior-senior Proms. Junior class sponsors from each school, Nicole Badgley from Arnold and Lisa Martin from Callaway, were given the task of working together to compare notes and begin working with the students in organizing the event.
One of the biggest areas of concern by many board members and parents from both schools was the After Prom, which is planned by the parents. Parents from both schools have said they believe the After Prom should be in the same community as the Prom itself, which at this point looks like will be Callaway.
The Prom is set for April 16.