Seniors missing out on important life events has been the theme of the past couple months for schools across the region. As the COVID-19 virus swept across the globe, teens had to come to grips with a reality that didn’t include spring break, graduation ceremonies or spring sporting events.
However, thanks to a nonprofit based in Huntertown, Blackhawk Christian School’s senior class got to salvage one of its most important milestones of all — prom. On June 5, local wedding and events ministry From This Day Forward hosted a prom for Blackhawk seniors and their dates, hosting nearly the entire class of 2020.
“It’s better than we ever pictured it. We’re so excited we could do this for them,” Heather Krempel, one of the founders of From This Day Forward, said. “Part of our mission is assisting individuals in need as they celebrate life events, and we feel that prom and graduation are certainly huge life events, so I feel like this fits with our mission completely.”
From This Day Forward, which opened in Huntertown’s Lima-Plank Mercantile in 2016, began as a wedding ministry, providing gently used décor and planning assistance for those looking for more affordable ceremonies. In 2018, Krempel and her mother and business partner, Amy Moser, hosted their first graduation party in the garden space adjacent to their storefront, which was previously home to a child care playground. After completely revamping the space, the pair has since hosted several community events.
The partnership between the organization and Blackhawk began before the COVID-19 virus closed schools and canceled senior festivities. In February, From This Day Forward had already begun planning with the school’s after-prom committee to provide rental materials. When schools closed in March, the two groups stayed in touch with hopes of hosting a smaller scale event.
“When everything shut down, we knew we weren’t going to be able to do big, large events, which severely impacts our income, so we had to get creative,” Krempel said.
Blackhawk’s prom was the first the organization has ever hosted, and Krempel hopes it’s the start of a new trend.
“We’ve been working really hard on our garden area, and we’d love to show it off and open our doors for all these seniors that unfortunately haven’t had a chance to celebrate their last hoorah,” she said.
Blackhawk paid for its seniors to attend the event, and students were allowed to purchase tickets for their dates. About 80 tickets had been sold by the evening of the prom.
“Their students jumped on board, got in contact with us and worked with us to get the information out to everyone,” Krempel said. “The student council members have been wonderful to work with. They had some great input, had great questions, and getting their feedback really helped.”
Several other local businesses lent their support to the event, and added extra flair to the evening’s festivities. Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Truck, Whip and Chill, Salsa Grille, King Arthur’s Trolley and Well Grounded Café provided food, and students enjoyed games in Fort Wayne Pinball Wizard’s World next door.