Archive for Thursday, May 8, 2003

After prom comes before sleep

May 8, 2003

By now, those who attended the Eudora High School prom and all-night prom party should be rested up.

I haven't been to prom since I was in high school. One thing I was most impressed with was the all-night prom party. We didn't have such a thing when I was in school. Dave and Phillis Durkin started the tradition 15 years ago, and Bruce and Bonnie Neis took charge of it four years ago. It's a wonderful idea and a great way to keep youth out of trouble on prom night.

My oldest son, Mark, who is a freshman, was invited to the prom this year. Guests can be included if they are invited by a junior or senior at Eudora. In this case, my son was invited by his cousin Rachel, who is a junior. He had a great time, and it was a good experience for him.

I have to admit, I got a little choked up when he walked out of the fitting room at the bridal shop the night we went to pick up his tuxedo.

"My baby can't be old enough for this," I thought to myself.

It seems like only yesterday I was holding him in my arms, giving him a bottle, and rocking him to sleep. Time certainly flies by -- all too quickly.

Prom night arrived, and Mark began to get dressed. He asked for help with the small, round objects included with the tux in the plastic bag. I knew what the cuff links were, but the small tack-like buttons were puzzling to me. I wasn't sure how to fasten the cuff links on, so we implored help from his dad because I've never worn a tux before.

It turns out he didn't need the tacks because his tie covered up the buttonholes where they were supposed to go. He looked sharp all decked out in his tuxedo. (More choking up, here).

Not too long after the cuff links were in place, my camera started clicking. Mark began to complain after about the third picture, but I told him he better get used to it --there were many more to follow. Neither of us realized at the time just how many that would be.

We met up with his "date" at her aunt and uncle's house for photos. From there, we proceeded to another house for photos, then on to Grandpa's for even more pictures before Mark and Rachel left to meet several friends for dinner in Lawrence and then on to the prom.

Many parents went to the Burge Union on the Kansas University campus to watch as their sons and daughters walked by them on their way into the prom. I didn't go up to watch the procession, but I should have. It would have been fun to see the other kids I didn't see earlier in the evening as they paraded by.

The formal prom ended at midnight, and the all-night prom party, sponsored by the all-night prom committee, followed at the high school at 1 a.m. After many weeks of meeting and making plans, the work of the committee's paid off.

Committee members began decorating the hallways and gym with the secret theme early Saturday morning. The theme this year was "Wild, Wild West."

If students weren't signed in by 1 a.m., they were not allowed to enter the doors at the school. If alcohol was detected on their breath, they were refused entry. To my knowledge, no one was turned away for that reason. If a student chose to leave (I'm not sure why they would decide to do that, because there were plenty of activities) the parents were called and told their child was leaving and they were not allowed back into the school that night.

As prom-goers walked up to the school building to enter for the "lock-in," a cattle trailer was backed up to the main entryway doors. The only way into the building was by walking through the trailer, and the only way for the students to enter the main hallway into the gym was by climbing a stack of hay bales and sliding down a long tube.

The hallway and commons area was transformed into a scene from an old western movie, complete with a city jail, a hitching post, cantina, murals on the walls and a casino. Games in the gym included Jacob's ladder with money at the top for each person who dared to try and reach the top, a bull riding mechanism, an obstacle course, a karaoke machine, manure flinging and a lasso contest to name a few.

The kids and parents seemed to be enjoying themselves, and for the most part, stayed awake until the end when prizes were awarded.

I only made it until 4:30 a.m. before I left for home to try and catch a few hours of sleep. I should have stayed. After all, what's a couple more hours of lost sleep after you've been up most of the night anyway?

Every Eudora High School junior and senior left the all-night party with some type of prize, thanks to the numerous sponsors who donated money and goods. All the prom-goers were eligible for prizes by participating in the games, but the larger items were reserved for the upperclassmen. Some of the bigger prizes were televisions, DVD players and other electronic items. I was told there was more than $8,000 worth of prizes given away that night.

The all-night prom party is a strong and safe tradition that needs to be continued for a long time. After all, I still have two other children who plan to attend proms at Eudora, and I want them to have the same great experience their brother had this year.

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