What sounded like a great idea at the start of the school year - a big senior ball - has attracted some static.
Like anxious hostesses of a wedding where the in-laws despise one another, Lake City High senior class leaders this week fussed over preparations for tonight’s prom, the biggest one ever.
Students at Lake City and Coeur d’Alene high schools last fall overwhelmingly supported the plan to combine the prom.
“But we’ve grown so much apart, and the rivalry’s grown,” said Missy Rasmussen, senior president. “It’s like we’re having two separate proms together from two schools that don’t even know each other.”
More than 500 students from Coeur d’Alene High and the new Lake City High are planning to attend the dinner and dance at Templin’s Resort. It’s the first time, and most likely the last, that the two high schools will hold their senior ball together.
Rasmussen and vice president Emily Clarke were hoping for the best.
“There’s a lot riding on this ‘cause we’re doing the dinner thing,” Rasmussen said. “If it’s bad …”
“It’ll come crashing down on us,” Clarke said.
The two had just discovered one small disaster when they met Thursday in adviser Ardyce Plumlee’s classroom. Cardboard boxes, shredded newspaper stuffing and broken glassware littered the floor.
Of nearly 500 etched glass goblets they ordered for promgoers, almost a third arrived broken. The goblets contained candles, and apparently some were shipped too warm, causing the glass to shatter.
“As we were unpacking them, they were hot,” said an angry Plumlee, who was on the phone with the glassware company moments later.
Coordinating dance arrangements was not easy, the girls said. Once the two student government organizations agreed on the theme, the music, glassware gift and decor (school colors were ruled out), things went more smoothly.
As prom plans rolled on, though, the Lake City Timberwolves and Coeur d’Alene Vikings were seeking dominance on the football fields and basketball courts.
Some good friends still socialized on the weekends at parties or elsewhere, or attended events at the opposite school. But most students wore a more convenient social groove within their own schools.
The growing athletic rivalry didn’t make it easy for close crosstown relationships, they said.
Coeur d’Alene senior and prom royalty nominee Kelly Knoll, for instance, is dating an athlete at Lake City.
“When you go to sporting events, you don’t know whether to cheer for him or your own team,” she said.
As the competitive rivalry heated up, students began to wonder if anyone really wanted to have the combined prom anymore, Knoll said.
Some clearly consider it a bad idea.
“It’s idiotic,” declared prom king candidate Mike Drake, who plays football and soccer. “We might as well invite the entire IEL (Inland Empire League). Let’s have one BIG prom.”
Other royalty for Coeur d’Alene High disagreed.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” said his date, Kelly Patella.
“It’s a rivalry, but there’s still friendship there,” added Jason Rook, another athlete and member of the royal entourage.
Two kings and two queens will be crowned tonight - a pair from each school. Other candidates from Coeur d’Alene are Michelle Ross, Kelli Gonser, Marc McCall and Matt Odd.
Lake City High’s royalty are Gaylynn Scharenberg, Katie Clark, Jennifer Cook, Sandy Norton, Scott Miller, Luke Anderson, Shawn Gust and Steve Brumley.
In another departure from tradition, students are having dinner at Templin’s, rather than on their own. The dinner guests will see a slide show of themselves, growing up together.
John Brumley, Lake City High principal, predicted that the prom will be an elegant affair, unsoiled by the rivalry.
Students are more likely to be melancholy than hostile, he said.
“They’re just starting to get a sense of what they’re losing, that it’s coming to a closure,” he said.
Yet, everyone agrees, this senior ball will be unique.
“People don’t want it next year,” Rasmussen said. “It’s a totally different school now.”