Prom set for move to Maryville’s Clayton Center

Bearden’s junior and senior prom has been held at the Knoxville Convention Center for more than a decade, but this year, prom will be held at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the campus of Maryville College. Last year’s prom sold about 540 tickets compared to other years when 700 to 750 tickets were sold. The lack in ticket sales is just one reason that prom sponsor Mrs. Anna Graham chose to move to the smaller location. “It was really a hard decision to possibly move, but when it came down to it, I really felt that some of the benefits could outweigh where we are now,” Mrs. Graham said. Mrs. Graham said the carpet, walls, chandeliers, and huge 30-foot windows already at the Clayton Center create a prom-like atmosphere, as opposed to the big, grey room at the Convention Center that costs more money for prom committee to decorate. “It’s a very nice venue, it’s recently redone, and it suits our needs very well,” senior prom committee member Michael Ericson said. Based off of last year’s ticket sales, only 550 tickets will be sold in the spring. Only seniors can purchase tickets during the first week of sales, but both juniors and seniors will be able to buy tickets during the second week. Some students are worried they won’t have an opportunity to go to this year’s prom because of the smaller number of tickets available. “I think the venue is nice, but I don’t like the limited number of ticket sales available,” junior Ronnie Lauth said. “I honestly think they should just keep it at the Convention Center so that people have a fair chance of going.” Distance is another concern when it comes to the new location of prom, but since most students who are zoned for Bearden live in the Northshore/Ebenezer area, it is about the same distance away. Another advantage Mrs. Graham pointed out is that the smaller, more private venue allows Bearden students their own, closer parking spaces instead of having to park downtown, sometimes almost a mile away from the Convention Center. She also said having prom at the Clayton Center also means other schools won’t have their prom at the same time and place like previous years. “I think it’s actually cool that they’re moving it so we don’t have to be in the same area as West and Farragut,” senior Megan Coble said. The later date of prom, May 11, means all students will be done with EOC, ACT, and most AP testing. Also, seniors who don’t have to take their finals won’t return to school, with Senior Celebration being the day before prom. “It’s more of an end of the year celebration, like a prom should be,” Mrs. Graham said. Hannah McElroy is a staff writer for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.