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After-prom parties are a safe, fun activity for area teens
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Jason Ussery rides a mechanical bull at the after-prom party at Bassett High School last year. (Contributed photo)

Friday, April 11, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Bassett High School senior Brandon Wimbish went to the after-prom party at BHS last year and enjoyed it so much that he plans to go again this year.

“It was fun. A large amount of people go,” Brandon said. There were a lot of games, food, a disc jockey and activities, he added.

He said he thinks the after-prom party is a good idea. “It’s fun and keeps you out of trouble going somewhere else,” he said.

BHS junior Hannah Cassady said people who don’t attend the after-prom party — a supervised, substance-free activity set for early Sunday morning after Saturday night’s prom — might be tempted to do things they shouldn’t if they are unsupervised.

This will be Hannah’s first BHS after-prom party. “I’m excited. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it,” she said. Everybody she has talked with who attended last year “seemed to have a good time.”

The after-prom party will be from about 12:30 to 4 a.m. Sunday at BHS, said Lisa Frick, chairperson of the after-prom party committee. The prom will be at Bassett Country Club.

More than 450 young people are expected to attend the after-prom party. Students do not have to attend the prom to attend the after-prom party. More than 100 volunteers will help and chaperone, including staff, parents and guardians, Frick said.

She described the event as “a big deal,” “a big party,” “a fun and safe environment.”

Activities and offerings will include inflatables, a mechanical bull ride, other games, photo booth, air-brush tattoos and food, among others. “We will be giving away more than $2,000 cash and four TVs,” she said.

John Gibbs, who is in his first year as principal at BHS, said he has “heard how wonderful the after-prom party is. ... It looks like a ton of kids come.”

Magna Vista High School’s after-prom party will be from midnight to 5 a.m. April 26 at the school, Assistant Principal Deborah Kaufman said. The prom will be at Bassett Country Club.

“This (the after-prom party) is open to any junior or senior whether they attend the prom or not and their guest,” Kaufman said.

Three hundred to 400 young people are expected to attend the MVHS after-prom party, she said.

There will be music (a disc jockey and karaoke), photo booth, inflatables, mechanical bull, bungee activity, obstacle course, corn hole, other games, food and other activities and offerings. Cash prizes and scholarships will be given away.

The event will be supervised by parents, staff members and some police officers, Kaufman said.

She added she thinks the after-prom party “is very effective” in helping keep students safe. “Any time we can provide safe alternatives, they will take advantage (of it). Students are looking for things to do.”

“Our objective is to provide a fun, safe, exciting and alcohol- and drug-free environment so there will not be tragic accidents or other negative occurrences on that evening. We want it to be a memorable night in a positive way,” Kaufman said,

Henry County Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cotton said after-prom parties are a positive initiative in the schools.

“It provides our students with a safe option after the prom, and it encourages students to make good choices. Several exciting activities are planned and students are well supervised by volunteers. In addition, I am overwhelmed by the parent involvement in this event. We have parents at both high schools who work all year to prepare this ‘special’ opportunity for our students,” he said.

“My sense is that most of the students plan to attend because the feedback has been so positive. When you have students promoting an event like this to other students, you tend to have high participation,” he added.

Lorrie Buck, chairperson of the after-prom party committee for Martinsville High School, said that event will be from midnight to 4 a.m. Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. The prom will be at Forest Park Country Club from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday.

She is expecting about 175 juniors, seniors and guests to attend. At least 30 parents and teachers will chaperone, she said.

Activities and offerings will include a rock wall, 68-foot obstacle course, carnival games, monster basketball, photo booth, food and more. For prizes, a total of about $200 in cash will be given away as well as $5,000 to $6,000 in merchandise, including refrigerators, microwaves, TVs, laptops, cameras, towels, sheet sets, comforters and blankets — many of them items students can take with them to college.

Typically, most people who go to prom also go to the after-prom party, Buck said.

She added she “definitely” thinks the after-prom party helps keep students safe and out of trouble on prom night. “It gives them somewhere fun to go. They can hang out with friends and their dates. ... They feel safe. ... They are very excited about the different prizes we offer.”

Martinsville City Public Schools Superintendent Pam Heath said the after-prom party is popular. “Students really look forward to it.” After the prom, students feel the night is still young, and “this gives them good activities that are fun and supervised.” She said she believes the after-prom party helps keep students safe and out of danger (such as car crashes) and out of trouble on prom night.

Mary Ann Jennings, Advanced Placement English teacher at Martinsville High School and head of the school’s prom committee, said the after-prom party is “a wonderful addition to our community. The parents do a wonderful job. ... The children love it every year. They rant and rave (about it).”

She said the after-prom party provides a safe environment for students to get together and celebrate, and possibly earn prizes for college dorm rooms. She added she thinks it reduces the chance of students getting into alcohol-related accidents.

“It’s a real happy time,” MHS Principal Angela Weinerth said of the after-prom party. “The kids really enjoy it, the prizes, the interaction with each other and adults. It’s well supervised. We make sure they get home safely.”

She said before students are allowed to leave the after-prom party, their parents are notified that they will be coming home soon.

Parental permission/notification also is required before students leave after-prom parties at Bassett and Magna Vista high schools, Frick and Kaufman said. “If they don’t show up (at home), we make phone calls until they are located,” Frick said.

Heath, Gibbs, Frick, Kaufman and Buck praised parents, communities, businesses and organizations for supporting the after-prom parties.


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