By FRED KRONER
Just hearing that word causes some of us to shudder.
Predictably, we are most comfortable with that which is familiar.
Perhaps it is not change itself that is so stressful as is the uncertainty of the unknown.
Those of us who have lived in Mahomet more than a few decades remember a time we could shop at the IGA … when the IGA was nestled along Rt. 150, just west of Daisy’s Cafe.
The IGA still exists, just at a different location, and while Daisy’s is now a part of our history, a gas station still remains at the intersection of Oak and Lombard streets.
Many of us remember, too, the old traditions of Prom weekend; the way it was before changes were introduced.
Getting a date was only one of the challenges.
What restaurant to go to? Would it take reservations or was it going to be necessary to arrive early to make sure and get seated on a busy Saturday?
Another issue is the price differences at area restaurants. Some are much more affordable for teens.
Anyone currently in high school locally has no first-hand knowledge of those days, however.
For nearly a decade, Prom Night at Mahomet-Seymour involves a catered meal at the dance site.
It’s clearly a scenario that administrators would like. They are able to monitor and supervise students for a greater portion of the evening.
From a parental standpoint, it eliminates some of the concern of teen-agers traversing from the restaurant site to the dance site.
From my view, those reasons alone make it an example of a positive change.
It was tried once at Mahomet-Seymour High School in the 1990s for a single year, but was revived earlier this decade and has continued uninterrupted.
For a $50 ticket (per person), students can eat and dance at the same location. This year’s Prom was held again at the Hilton Garden Inn on the last Saturday of April.
Current high schoolers have opinions about what they like — or dislike — with the setup.
Senior Gabe Fulk acknowledged “there are some pros and cons.”
However, he likes the plan that is currently in place.
“I prefer the new way of eating dinner that is provided at the dance more than the old way of going out to eat and then coming to the dance,” Fulk said. “We still do the other three or four dances at our school the old way, so doing Prom like this helps to make it stand out from the other dances.
“It is fun to feel pampered and eat a nice meal while everyone around you is also dressed nicely. You also don’t have to spend time ahead of the dance getting reservations at various restaurants in order to ensure you’re able to eat without possibly being late to the dance.”
Though Fulk said, “the meal itself is actually quite good,” he recognizes that not everyone is pleased.
“There won’t be as many options for a picky eater as there would be at a restaurant,” he said. “I would say the only thing I don’t like about the new way is that they might not always have something that you want to eat, since they have to cater to the masses.”
M-S principal Shannon Cheek said students don’t all have to eat the same thing.
“The meal usually contains a few choices, but it is more of a buffet style that the students can navigate,” he said.
M-S superintendent Lindsey Hall was familiar with this setup. It was in place during her tenure at DeKalb High School.
“I am a big fan,” Hall said.
Cheek said students appear to like the policy as well.
“The feedback that we have received from the students is generally positive,” Cheek said. “The food and format seem to be well received. (The Hilton Garden Inn) is a nice venue that has been traditionally very accommodating.
“It’s nice for the students to be able to get a good meal and not have to go out. I would anticipate us holding true to that format as it seems to be good for everyone.”
The lesson to be learned is that change does not have to be associated with the negative. It’s often important to give it a chance instead of pre-judging.
For some of us, that in itself represents a change.