Hickman prom date changes, avoids conflict with Good Friday

Monday, February 7, 2011 | 6:06 p.m. CST; updated 7:28 p.m. CST, Monday, February 7, 2011

COLUMBIA — Hickman High School’s prom has been moved from April 22 — Good Friday — to April 16. The switch comes in the wake of several complaints lodged with the school’s administration about the initial date of the prom.

Hickman Principal Tracey Conrad was limited in prom venue and date choices because of scheduling and budget limitations, she said in a previous Missourian article. Administrators chose MU's Memorial Union as the prom's venue because of the cost. The only available date was April 22.

But a cancellation at the Holiday Inn Executive Center, 2200 I-70 Drive S.W., allowed Hickman to make the switch to April 16, although rent at the venue is higher than at Memorial Union.

“When a Hickman alum said they would raise the difference, we were able to rent it for a different night,” she said.

Hickman was contacted Monday morning by an alumnus representing a group of Columbia residents who offered to raise the money for a venue change if the prom was rescheduled, according to a Columbia Public Schools news release. Hickman contacted the Holiday Inn Executive Center and was informed about the April 16 opening.

Ed Baker, the vice president of operations for the Holiday Inn Executive Center, was willing to underwrite a portion of the cost to make the venue more affordable for students, the release stated.

Hickman alumnus Jeffrey Pauls wrote to Conrad in January, urging her to reconsider the date of the prom. Pauls said the date change relieves families that observe the Christian holy day from being put in an unfair position.

“I think the best part about it is that a lot of students and their families will not have to make this difficult choice or are not put in a position where they have to pit their faith and religious beliefs against an important milestone and event in their lives and their children's lives,” he said.

Pauls said he hopes Hickman administrators learned something from the situation and will act more quickly in the future.

"Maybe now, after hearing from enough people, hopefully they understood that was not a good decision initially," he said. "It didn’t keep in mind the students, which is, in the end, what the administration should be focused on."

Although no parents of current students complained about the prom’s previous date, Conrad said it was important to the school to work with the community on the issue.

“Obviously, it is a conflict in principle,” she said. “Most parents would allow their students to attend (on Good Friday), but if we can avoid conflict we’re going to do so.”

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Sandra Hayes February 7, 2011 | 10:26 p.m.

Although NO parents of current students Mr Pauls must feel like he is running Hickman High all the way from Illinois......

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 8, 2011 | 9:37 a.m.

SandraH: Note that the first paragraph says "several complaints lodged..."

Those "several" complaints came from many sources, including comments in this newspaper and the other local one.

So, it wasn't just Mr. Pauls "running Hickman High all the way from Illinois".

(PS: Given the many adverse comments from folks on this issue, I'm unsure why the Missourian decided to focus just on Mr. Pauls. Perhaps he's the only one who actually wrote a letter and was available for interview.

I think you would be surprised how many posters on this forum are NOT from this community and NOT from this state. Are they "running [our state and community] all the way from [wherever]"....only if you disagree with their comments? Or should they also butt out when you agree with them?)

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley February 8, 2011 | 9:51 a.m.

I don't think you can actually LODGE a complaint with someone from a Newspaper...? Except maybe the newspaper.....

I mean, I know you can complain about something in the Newspaper.... Heck, you can complain about anything in the Newspaper.. But I think to actually LODGE a complaint with the school's administration, you have to actually contact the school's administration...

I suppose I could be wrong.. But I know that you can't LODGE a complaint with my company through the Newspaper.. You can complain. And I can ignore.. But if you want to actually LODGE a complaint with me or about my company, you have to call, email, or write me..

Ricky Gurley

(Report Comment)

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