Senior prom is one of the most anticipated events for high school students. With prom season right around the corner, local schools have started their preparations to make it a night to remember for their students.
Themes and decorations
The first step is for teachers and student committees to decide on a theme and location.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Morgan Becer, 17, of Ligonier tries on a Kiss Kiss fuller gown at Pine Ridge Bridal Outlet in Duncansville.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
(From left) Penn Cambria High School students Nicole Rakowski, 17, of Loretto, Carly McGarry, 18, of Cresson and Carol Stoltz, 17, of Cresson try on prom dresses.
Tyrone Area High School prom adviser Paula Binus said that TAHS always keeps the theme a secret.
"I've been doing this for 21 years, and that's the one thing that has not changed," she said. "The theme is always a surprise."
The TAHS prom committee is made up of two advisers and about 10 juniors who plan the combined junior-senior prom.
Binus said that the committee likes to make its own designs and provide decorations.
"We try to go out of our way to find unique centerpieces," she said.
Williamsburg Junior-Senior High School's prom is also for juniors and seniors. Junior Club Adviser Jana Mock said the theme this year is "Midnight Masquerade."
Mock said students on the committee sell candy to raise money. They then vote on the theme and order the decorations from a prom magazine called Stumps. Themes for some of the recent proms were "A Night in the Spotlight" and "A Night in Paris."
Another school with a masquerade theme this year is Altoona Area High School.
The "Venetian Masquerade" will be held May 29 at the Blair County Convention Center. David Aboud, senior prom adviser, said the prom committee picks the theme by looking through prom catalogs.
"We don't have a lot of decorations because our prom is held at the Convention Center," he said.
Penn Cambria High School's prom theme this year is "An Evening in Paris." Dustien Garman, a senior at Penn Cambria in Cresson, said there are about 30 students on the prom committee. The adviser is Ramona Rodgers.
Paying for prom
To pay for prom, most schools require students to pay for admission and do some fundraising.
Binus said that at Tyrone, the prom committee raises money by selling food items such as sandwiches, pizza and apple dumplings. She said tickets for this year's prom, set for May 15 at the Altoona Heritage Discovery Center, are $35 per student.
Senior Lindsey Phelps, a senior at Williamsburg, said students sell candy to raise money for their prom, set for May 1 at the Calvin House, Duncansville.
Mock said that the prom and dinner costs $35 per student. The evening starts at 7 p.m. with a full-course meal, including everything from appetizers to desserts.
"I'm excited for prom to dress up and have a great time with my friends," Phelps said.
Aboud said the senior class at Altoona has an optional fundraiser to help with the cost of prom by selling candy bars and brochure items. Prom tickets are $10 per person.
He also said any students with disciplinary problems are not able to attend prom.
"If students have five or more demerits, they are excluded from the prom, afterglow (the after-prom party) and graduation," he said.
Mock said that at Williamsburg, there aren't many requirements that students must meet in order to attend prom.
"There are students that are probably failing, but they can still go," Mock said.
Garman said Penn Cambria's prom is held at The Casino at Lakemont Park in Altoona. The cost is $35 for a single ticket and $70 for couples.
"We sell candles and other home [decor] things to fundraise," he said.
Garman said the only requirement for Penn Cambria students to attend prom is that they have good attendance and be in school the Friday before prom.
Each school provides its own unique activities for their students to remember the night.
Binus said that for the past eight years, Tyrone students have received souvenirs such as blankets and memory books.
"We try to make this a once-in-a-lifetime thing for the kids," she said.
Family and friends are invited to see the decorations an hour before prom, then couples line up for the "Grand March" at 7:30 p.m., when couples head into the prom site and parents take pictures.
The dance is then held from 8 to 11:30 p.m.
"All 300 students that attend this event dance the entire time. There are maybe only about six students that actually sit during the dance," Binus said.
Garman said Penn Cambria students vote on prom king, queen, prince and princess, and the winners are announced at the prom.
At AAHS, students can attend an after-prom party called the After Glo.
Kim Shope, afterglow adviser, said that AAHS has been holding After Glo for more than 50 years to provide students with after-prom activities that are safe and fun.
Tickets to the afterglow, which is held from midnight to 4 a.m., are $15 per person. Shope said the school rents Lakemont Park and students can ride the amusement park rides and skate at Galactic Ice.
Senior Jennifer Flynn said she attended the AAHS senior prom last year and is looking forward to going this year.
"It was a lot of fun because we got so much free food and we rode all of the rides at Lakemont," she said.
Flynn said that students were also able to win prizes such as a computer and flat-screen TV.
"We're very proud that we can offer this to our students," Shope said. "It's a night for them to enjoy with friends for the last time," she said.
Katie Duffy is a senior at Altoona Area High School. She works at the Mirror through the School-to-Career program.