Senior prom didn’t happen in the way that recent Ballston Spa High School graduates Ethan Shuhart and Sarah McCabe expected.
Rather than being surrounded by their classmates at the Saratoga Springs City Center, they spent the occasion together on Sunday, taking a few photos in Congress Park before heading off to Shuhart's uncle's home in Brunswick. Against a mountainous backdrop, Shuhart’s father served them dinner beneath a cedar pagoda, lit with a chandelier. The evening culminated with a few dances and gifts.
“His family just took care of everything, which was absolutely amazing,” McCabe said.
She and Shuhart had planned to attend the Ballston Spa High School senior prom together this spring. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the school district had to cancel the event, according to McCabe. The couple, who have been dating for ten months, decided to have a prom of their own anyway, as others in the Capital Region have had to do this year.
“I thought it would just be we’d get dressed up and go take pictures and maybe go out to dinner. This totally blew away my expectations,” McCabe said.
For Shuhart, the plan fell into place a few weeks ago. After helping his family build the pagoda, he knew it’d be the perfect place to celebrate a prom with McCabe. Then, he got the rest of his family on board.
“My dad is an amazing cook; so he grilled up some sirloin steaks and twice-baked potatoes and cauliflower. Sarah and I were sitting at a two-person table underneath the pagoda looking out across the mountains and he served us sparkling apple cider, bread and butter. When dinner was ready, he’d come out with a towel around his arm. It was sort of a joke, but he was sincere,” Shuhart said.
McCabe and Shuhart met last year and became friends after they both volunteered at a blood drive at school. Since graduating earlier this summer, they’ve been working at Ballston Spa Pizza Works.
“I think with corona [and because] we both were working full time as soon as we got out of school, it was like we had that five-year couple life even though it’s only been a couple [of] months,” McCabe said.
Both will be going off to college on Friday; McCabe to Gordon College in Massachusetts to study youth ministry and Shuhart to Clarkson University to study mechanical engineering.
Sunday’s prom was a heartwarming send-off.
“We got each other graduation gifts. I made him a scrapbook of when we first started dating . . . That was fun to go through with him last night. He gave me a bracelet that had special meaning to it,” McCabe said.
While it wasn’t the prom they originally planned, the intimate evening was certainly memorable.
“Wherever we go, we have a good time with each other. We’ve been dating for going on ten months now so wherever we go we figure out a way to have fun with each other. Having this more intimate, fancy dinner date was very nice to have,” Shuhart said.