Sherwood High School students who were originally told that their prom was sold out will be able to attend after all. School administrators confirmed that the venue, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, can accommodate additional students.
Several parents contacted The Gazette on April 11, disappointed that their children were told that tickets were sold out after waiting in line to buy them. That was the last day to purchase tickets, which had been available for several weeks. They also were sold on online.
Some parents said that their students already had purchased gowns and rented tuxedos.
Brenda Hoyle, Sherwood’s business administrator, said the school learned on April 15 that an additional 64 students can attend the prom.
That includes 44 students who tried to buy tickets on April 11. Another 20 students who purchased tickets online after school on April 10 and couldn’t pick up their tickets on April 11 also will get to go, Hoyle said.
“Those kids who made that deadline — we knew we were going to try to make something work for them,” she said.
In addition to those 64 tickets, eight additional tickets were sold on Tuesday.
The 72 additional tickets will be added to the initial 455 that were sold, for a total of 527, said Jodie Friedman, the junior class sponsor.
Principal Wiliam Gregory said he heard from some parents of students who returned to class after being told the tickets were sold out last Friday, without staying to put their name on the waiting list.
“What’s important here is taking care of the kids and making sure that they get to prom, and we did that,” he said.
Michael Geary of Olney, the parent of a senior, said that although he had not officially received the updated news from Sherwood, he was happy with the resolution, assuming those now able to purchase tickets could take dates.
“The only thing worse than not going to your prom is going by yourself,” he said.
Hoyle confirmed that the additional tickets accounted for the dates of students who wish to bring them.
Hoyle said an official notice was scheduled to go out after a staff member returned to school on Tuesday.
A previous Gazette story cited one parent who said that about 100 kids were on a waiting list for tickets. Hoyle called that an “exaggerated” figure.
Hoyle said the school talked to the aquarium and made an announcement to students on Friday — the day before the school closed for spring break — that it was working to get more tickets. The aquarium responded April 15, she said.
“They had to check with the caterer,” she said. “That was the issue, not so much the space. We now have a new contract.”
Responding to one parent’s comment that the school should plan for the maximum number of kids that could attend, Hoyle said that would be “irresponsible” for the school to do based on previous prom attendance, which is usually less than 400 students.
This year’s senior class has 510 students.
Planning to accommodate the unlikely maximum number would translate to higher event costs and therefore higher ticket costs for students who attend, she said.
“We have to commit to a number [of tickets] when we sign the contract,” she said. “We have to know what price we’re going to tell our kids.”
The school was “totally taken by surprise” by the increased student interest this year, she said.
Hoyle said the affected students were those who waited until the last minute.
As of April 10, she said, there still were tickets available.
“We didn’t have any indication Friday we were going to have a line to purchase tickets,” she said.
The school thinks interest in the new venue was a factor, as well as the fact that more seniors are taking juniors as dates this year rather than other seniors, Hoyle said.
Last year’s prom was held on the Odyssey ship on the Potomac River. The junior class votes each year on the venue for the following year’s prom.
Staff Writer Lindsay A. Powers contributed to this story