ANN ARBOR, Mich. — This year’s junior-senior prom for students at Durand High School will be one to remember — for more than one reason.
Not only is it prom, but it’s being held at the Big House in Ann Arbor.
“This is very exciting,” 18-year-old senior Justin Quagliata said Saturday afternoon as he and his classmates took the same field trod by legendary coach Bo Schembechler, Heisman Trophy winners Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson and other college football greats.
“I’ve watched football games here on TV, but I’ve never been to the Big House. This is something new for me.”
The group will take photos on the field, visit the locker rooms and have their dancing and dinner in the Jack Roth Stadium Club until midnight.
The Flint-area school’s annual dance is the first prom hosted by the 100,000-plus-seat football venue. Dexter High School’s prom will be held there next Saturday.
It’s part of an effort to use Michigan Stadium more during its typical offseason. The stadium has hosted the NHL and is welcoming world soccer powerhouses Manchester United and Real Madrid this summer. It’s also available for weddings and other events.
Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, the home of in-state rival Michigan State, has been available for high school proms since 2007.
Quagliata said he will enjoy the experience even though he plans to major in business administration at Michigan State in the fall.
“This whole experience with all my friends and classmates is what’s going to make it really memorable,” he said of Saturday’s prom.
Durand is “making history” with its prom the stadium, said 17-year-old senior Maddie Dietrich, who will attend Michigan in the fall and major in business management.
“We’re the first school to do it,” she said shortly after leaving the field. “I’m loving it. To be on the Michigan football field is just spectacular. It’s once in a lifetime for sure.”
About 240 students and their chaperones are attending the event. The students chose Michigan Stadium. The entire cost, including bus rental to and from the stadium, was about $24,000, according to class adviser and high school teacher Shannon Knapp.
Students raised the money through concessions sales as school sporting events, apparel sales, car washes and other fundraisers beginning their freshman year, Knapp said.
Tickets also cost $75 per person.