Gillette Stadium pays for senior’s prom after canceling their big night originally

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — If you want a great example of advance planning, check out Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School’s Class of 2022.

“Before even COVID started, these kids as sophomores signed a contract to have their senior prom at Gillette Stadium,” said Lynn Pearson, whose son Johnny is graduating this year. “This is not just a party. This is a life event for these kids — stuff that they’ll remember forever.”

Actually, what they may remember forever is that advance planning can potentially get you nowhere — if you’re dealing with Gillette Stadium. Students recently learned Gillette was bumping their prom from its calendar just six weeks before it was scheduled to be held on May 20.

And yes, they can do that.

“They brought to light the fine print that they could cancel up to five days prior to our kids’ senior prom,” Pearson said.

A Gillette spokesperson tells Boston 25 News that on occasion the stadium does exercise that right when, for example, one event conflicts with another. The spokesperson did not specify exactly what other event pushed the prom off the calendar — but said it was not because of Garth Brooks’ appearance on May 21.

The spokesperson said the stadium wanted to make things right with Bridgewater-Raynham High School — by offering to hold the prom a week later at Gillette, at no cost to the school.

Administrators at the high school had been surveying seniors to see what they want to do. As of last week, the vote was running two to one in favor of keeping the prom date and finding a new venue.

The stadium is officially paying for another venue for the seniors at Tiffany Ballroom located at Four Point Sheraton in Norwood. In addition, Gillette is offering to host Bridgewater-Raynham seniors for a free “field day” at a later date.

Of course, losing Gillette Stadium as a venue is a hard pill for some seniors to swallow.

“When I heard the news, I just couldn’t find the words to describe how sad I was,” said Luke Taylor. “We’re not gonna cry over spilled milk. We’re gonna persevere and we’re going to find a new place to do this.”

“It seemed like an amazing venue, and to hear that it was cancelled after everything with COVID and not getting a junior prom — it was really devastating,” said Johnny Pearson. “My gut was like, not again.”

The cancellation saddened senior Ian Farrell as well. But he also brought up the possible fiscal and logistical complications if the prom moves to a different date.

“One of the main things that messes me up is with limo rentals and tux rentals,” Farrell said.

Lynn Pearson pointed out that the May 27 date offered by Gillette is the kick-off to Memorial Day weekend. And she questioned whether other area schools might have proms scheduled for that date already — which would further complicate such things as formal wear rentals.

Why did Bridgewater-Raynham sign the contract with Gillette, knowing it had a unilateral “out” on short notice? Well, administrators didn’t know, Pearson said.

“And we want everybody to know, because who would sign a contract knowing that they could cancel within five days of a prom?” she said. “It’s crazy.”

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