WOODWARD — It was back in May when Woodward-Granger juniors Malorie Hudspeth and Brenna Demmerly decided that hosting a “Throwback Prom” would be a fun Senior Project. Now, as Saturday evening rapidly approaches, an unfortunate incident last week has caused the project to take on an entirely different importance.
W-G junior Drew Jacobson collapsed at a basketball practice Dec. 2 and was rushed by air ambulance to a Des Moines hospital, where he remains in Pediatric Intensive Care suffering from acute congestive heart failure. Doctors have said his condition caused his fall, and was not the result of it. Although not on life support, Jacobson is in a medically induced coma while a bypass machine helps his heart and lungs to heal.
The serious nature of the hospitalization of his son has meant Russ Jacobson is now facing unexpected costs and financial hardships, and, with that in mind, Hudspeth and Demmerly decided to do what they could to help out.
“We approached Kendra Gansen, our faculty sponsor, and asked her if we could donate the proceeds from our project to Russ and his family and the school agreed,” Hudspeth said. “We have no idea how much we will raise, but I am sure any little bit will help.”
Woodward-Granger schools require, as a stipulation for graduation, that each senior student have a Senior Project. Students must have an adult or faculty sponsor and may work in pairs, as Hudspeth and Demmerly have been. Their sponsor, Gansen, is the FCS (Family Consumer Sciences) instructor at W-G.
A final report and presentation are required of the students, and their plans require consultation and approval.
With the idea of a Throwback Prom in hand, the two juniors received permission to move ahead with their project in June.
As the fall of their senior year has progressed, the duo has knocked quite an event into shape, and it is their hope that donating funds received as a freewill offering to the Jacobson family (they had originally been targeted toward a charity before approval of the change was granted) will generate an even greater turnout.
The Throwback Prom will be held Saturday from 6-9 p.m. in the W-G Commons (the area outside the varsity gym on the west end of the school building). The theme for the evening is a 1950’s diner, and the area will be decorated in that style.
A dinner and social hour will be held from 6-7 p.m. with attendees treated to live music from members of the W-G jazz band, who have been practicing specific musical numbers for the event.
The dance itself will be held from 7-9 p.m. with music from the 1950s through the 1980s featured. Formal wear is allowed but not required.
“We expect it to be semi-formal, maybe not jeans, but you also don’t need to come in a tux,” Hudspeth said. “Brenna and I hope couples will come dressed as they would have dressed for a semi-formal dance when they were in school, whether it was the 50s, the 60s, whenever. That is why we are calling it a ‘throwback’ prom.”
Hudspeth stressed that the event is open to any and all adults who wish to attend.
“You do not have to be a Woodward-Granger graduate,” she said. “We don’t care if you went to school in Perry, or Adel, or Nebraska, wherever — it is open to all.”
There is no cost to attend, with the aforementioned freewill offering being held instead.
While walk-ins are allowed, the pair would prefer those expecting to attend to add their name to the guest list, as it will help in the planning of the meal and organizing of the event. Doing so is as simple as sending an email to: email@example.com or by visiting www.facebook.com/throwbackprom2015.
Hudspeth said that they had originally hoped to attract at least 40 couples. As of Dec. 4, 37 had already indicated they wished to attend.
“We hope we have a big crowd,” she said. “We can open the gym and use it if we need to, so space is not an issue. The more the merrier, especially as it will help Drew’s family.”
Those wishing to directly help defray expenses for the Jacobson family may drop a donation off at, or mail a check to, Woodward-Granger High School, 306 W. Third Street, Woodward, IA 50276. Donors are asked to mark “Malorie and Brenna” on the envelope so the funds can be properly directed.
Drew Jacobson had an outstanding football season this year, playing at both left tackle on the offensive line and as a defensive tackle. Following are a selection of some highlights from his season. Jacobson is No. 58.
In the above play against Martensdale-St. Mary’s, Jacobson comes from behind to make a big hit and cause a fumble.
Left tackle Jacobson does double-duty on this run against Southwest Valley by blocking a defensive tackle, then stepping to the next level to clear a linebacker, allowing tailback Tanner Vermaas to spurt for 11 yards.
Jacobson bulldozes his way through a pair of blockers before planting the Central Decatur quarterback for a big loss.