Pequot Lakes, Pine River-Backus prom and graduation plans are emerging

Students are aiming for some return to normalcy


The Pine River-Backus and Pequot Lakes school districts have cautiously, hopefully and ultimately tentatively each come up with a plan for prom.

"Pine River-Backus will be hosting prom on Saturday, May 15. While we have to comply with the state guidelines, we're still trying to make things as normal as possible for our students. They've missed out on a lot," said prom adviser Katie Verschelde.

Plans continue, of course, to be somewhat uncertain because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the school district is trying to work within its means. As it stands, prom will be held for juniors and seniors at the school with a grand march that will only be open to those who receive tickets from the prom participants.

Bites Grill and Bar in Pine River will cater the dinner at the school.

Prom for Pequot Lakes students will be Friday, May 14, with a 5:30 p.m. grand march at the school. Tickets will be limited to a certain number per participant.


Prom itself will take place at the pavilion at Madden's on Gull from 7-10 p.m. The pavilion is covered in the event of poor weather.

Pequot Lakes' graduation will take place Friday, May 28, on the high school football field. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be done in the parking lot with each graduate in their own vehicle, similar to the 2020 graduation ceremony.

The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. with limited attendees - five or six per graduate - being seated at 6 p.m. Both prom and graduation will be livestreamed on YouTube.

"We just can't fit enough people inside to even consider indoors at this point," high school Principal Aaron Nelson said. "I'm a very traditional guy with graduation - I always have been - but last year blew me away with how much fun it was. I have never had a festive graduation like that. It was a positive experience that has opened my eyes to new possibilities. I am really excited about the football field idea. It will give us a little more formality with a lot more fans in attendance."

Graduation plans are finally coming together for Pine River-Backus seniors as well. Commencement will be at 7 p.m. Friday, June 4, in the Pine River-Backus Performance Gym with 62 graduates. Valedictorians are Rylie Hirschey and Olivia Adkins, with Hanna Milham as class salutatorian.

Attendance will likely be limited, much the same way as prom, to family and friends who receive tickets from graduates.

At recent school board meetings it has been made clear that the PR-B Student Council is determined to forge ahead with plans to finish the year strong not only with prom May 15 and graduation June 4, but also a Snodaze celebration.

"We're going to do dress up days and hopefully work in a SnoDaze coronation," Student Council Adviser Aimee Wilson said during the April regular school board meeting.


Though few details are available, SnoDaze is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, June 2, and would presumably face the same restrictions as prom and graduation.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

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