2020 prom location, theme announced

With+smiles+on+their+faces%2C+the+junior+prom+committee+visits+the+Wild+Prairie+Event+Center+where+prom+will+be+hosted+on+April+18.+They+announced+the+decision+to+host+prom+at+a+venue+in+Jan.+24+Instagram+and+Twitter+posts.

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With smiles on their faces, the junior prom committee visits the Wild Prairie Event Center where prom will be hosted on April 18. They announced the decision to host prom at a venue in Jan. 24 Instagram and Twitter posts.

Dinner and pictures at locations around town, a promenade in the school driveway and dancing the night away in Ravenscroft gym among theme specific decorations: all commonalities of attending an NHS prom. Whereas in past years the dance has been located in the main gym, this years’ Prom will take place at a venue.
Hoping to plan a unique prom experience, junior class president and prom committee member Alondra Valle said the group began contemplating holding prom at a venue early in the year. Following the emergence of the idea, junior class officers contacted principal Lisa Moore as soon as possible.
“We had not even met, we had not even talked about prom, we had done nothing with prom before they were meeting with me to talk,” Moore said.
Upon proposing the idea to Moore and prom sponsor Shanda Swanson, the committee was met with positive responses. In fact, they had even found a venue of consideration to which Moore immediately called.
“[Sand Creek Event Center] was not going to be big enough for us for prom. We figure the gym right now is 10,000 square feet and that venue was only 6,000 square feet,” Moore said.
In the fall of last year, the committee set forth to acquire student body opinions by sending out a survey to juniors and seniors. Receiving around an 87 percent majority to hold prom at a venue, the committee members began looking into alternative location opportunities.
“The waiting process was kind of what was the hardest part because you want it to be there right away,” Valle said. “It was just hard finding something that would suit most of the students.”
Committee members looked into a variety of venues, including The Barn at Grace Hill and the Meridian Center. However, the properties were either already rented for the weekend, too small or did not respond. Eventually, after plenty of back and forth, the committee decided to rent the Wild Prairie Event Center.
The Student Council (STUCO) announced the venue change to students on Jan. 24 with Instagram and Twitter posts. Swanson said that while she has only heard positive responses from students and staff, the STUCO Twitter account turned off comments.
“We shut off comments because we knew that there would be some people who threw a fit,” Swanson said. “ But, everything that I’ve heard from administration down to custodians have all been in favor of doing this.”
On Feb. 4, Moore and Swanson visited the event center to scope out the property and plans for the dance.
“It was my first time going out to that venue since they renovated it and oh my god it’s amazing. It’s gorgeous. The woodwork- it’s amazing,” Moore said.
Rather than allocating funds differently, the cost of the venue is an additional expense for the committee, however, it has already been accounted for.
“Prom is only funded by ticket sales. That’s it. There’s a lot of schools that do fundraising- do concession stands, whatever- to fundraise for prom, which lowers their ticket prices. Newton High School has always been self-funded for prom,” Moore said.
Despite being more expensive, hosting the dance at the event center limits the number of decorations needed, as well as gym clean up for custodial staff.
“Every table is going to have a black tablecloth, there be lots of gold and it’ll have like the 1920s theme to it. Like I said, they’re going to do the silhouettes, they’ll draw the silhouettes and cut them out and paint them,” Moore said. “Kids are going to ask their parents to help with cleaning up the trash.”
Moore said students can expect the music to like that of this past winter homecoming as the DJ will be the same.
“He was well-received,” Moore said. “That’s who the venue uses for their DJ, so that’s how we got the idea to use him and I think the kids had fun with him.”
Despite hosting prom at a different venue, Moore said she does not expect the character of attending an NHS prom to be lost. The well-known and enjoyed promenade (walk-in) is still scheduled to happen at the event center.
“The promenade is going to be promenade, you know like it is. What makes prom prom is the kids showing up,” Moore said. “There is going to be table decorations, there will be a chocolate fountain. Same atmosphere, different setting.”
In correlation with finding and choosing a venue for the dance, the committee was also focused on deciding a prom theme. Valle said the process was made easier than expected because they listened to requests from the senior class.
“We went into this all having our own ideas, but then at the end of the day we decided to have a Roaring ‘20s prom theme combined with Starry Night,” Valle said. “This is for seniors- it is their senior year and a lot of seniors, we heard on Twitter and social media and people would just like come up to us telling us that it would be so cool having a Roaring ‘20s theme because it’s 2020. We decided to give that to them.”
Attempting to announce the theme in a unique way, the committee came up with the idea of playing ‘20s themed music over the intercom.
“We thought about doing it how it was two years ago with a fake theme, but knew people wouldn’t buy into that because it had already happen. Then last year with Viva Las Vegas they put poker chips out,” Valle said. “We were like ‘Let’s do music’ because it did really disrupt people and we thought it was clever.”
With April 18 quickly approaching, Valle said she looks forward to watching the committee’s ideas come to life.
“[I am most excited to] see the final outcome and to see if the student body enjoys it,” Valle said. “I want to see our hard work actually pay off.”

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