A large black SUV rolled up to the front entrance of the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood Saturday afternoon, and on its rear windows in large white letters was written "JAS Prom 2017."
As the doors opened, a group of well-dressed young people climbed out, ready to dance the day away at their John Archer School prom.
For student Isabelle Cupp, the day was made more memorable as her dad, Michael Cupp, a member of the U.S. Army deployed to Saudi Arabia, was able to coordinate leave, arriving in the early hours of Saturday morning to be with his family for his daughter's prom.
There were very few dry eyes in the room as Cupp held his daughter close, sharing a huge hug after a slow dance.
For the third year, Linda and Steve Vitali, owners of the Richlin Ballroom, hosted the special event. Their daughter, Kate Vitali, is a special educator at John Archer and had urged her parents to host the prom two years ago and the family was happy to again help this year.
"John Archer's prom is truly a special day and celebration for our students and families," Katie Vitali said. "It is an extraordinary experience that creates wonderful memories of a life event they will hold close to their hearts forever."
Several other local businesses came through again this year to help make the day extra special for the group of students and their families.
Table centerpiece flowers were provided by Jonathan's Florist in Forest Hill, and Flowers by Lucy and the Harford Technical High School Floral Department helped out with boutonnieres and corsages. Enterprise in Edgewood also provided some help to put on the event.
Tapsnap Photo Booth rentals provided one of its booths to capture some fun and special moments, while DJ Christopher Kearns, owner of DJ's of Choice, kept the crowd out of their seats and on the dance floor. Volunteers from Towson University Northeastern Maryland, on the Harford Community College campus, were on hand to enjoy the fun, too.
"The John Archer prom was one of the most wonderful experiences I have had. The students and their families had a fantastic afternoon filled with fun, food and dancing. It's a day they won't soon forget," Kim Marine, John Archer's assistant principal, said.