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High school's biggest dance culmination of years of hard work

Teacher Katherine Rudy sews decorations for North Carroll High School's Prom.
Teacher Katherine Rudy sews decorations for North Carroll High School's Prom. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

HAMPSTEAD - For North Carroll High School seniors, the junior-senior prom was the culmination of three and a half years of almost constant fundraising from the time they entered the school as freshmen.

On the Thursday before the big dance, Andy Baranauskas, the president of the executive board for the class of 2013, and Melissa Urch, the vice president, helped get supplies together for a trailer that eventually made it to Martin's West in Baltimore, the site of this year's prom.

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The prom, which took place April 20, taught the seniors on the prom committee lessons about not procrastinating, working on a budget and organizing the most widely-anticipated event of the year in the midst of the senior year frenzy.

All told, the prom cost nearly $30,000 to put together. However, the group was able to be cost-conscious with its theme and decorations, said teacher Katherine Rudy, who was the adviser for the students.

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Decorations cost less than $1,000, she said, and the favors and candy bar cost about $2,000. The DJ and hype-up man cost around $3,600, she said.

And of course, the venue, often the most expensive part, cost about $23,000. That included a package of floral arrangements, some decorations and hors d'oeuvres.

Each person on the planning committee added their own touch to the food, Baranauskas said.

"At Martin's West, we all saw something different that we liked about it," he said. "With me, I saw that they had a doughnut machine."

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The event also included an ice cream bar with smoothies, milkshakes and non-alcoholic daiquiris and an international coffee bar.

A total of 373 students bought tickets to the prom at $50 apiece. In addition, the junior class helped to organize, plan and pay for the event, and then received about 60 percent of the cost back, Rudy said.

This year's prom committee seniors were also members of the committee as juniors helping to plan the 2012 prom, which had a Hollywood theme, according to Kaylin Foard, a member of the decorations committee. Working on the previous year's prom helped the class of 2013 learn from successes and mistakes, she said.

Last year, most of the decorations were out of a catalog, and when they got to the space to set up, some of the big Hollywood items like the star arches didn't quite fit, Foard said. This year's theme, vintage, allowed the group to use plenty of items parents already had.

Parents donated mason jars, and the flower design class helped with floral arrangements for the centerpieces. A tech class made the wooden arches. Thursday, Rudy was sitting at the sewing machine adding finishing touches to a lace canopy for the arches.

"[I like] the fact they're putting their own stamp on it," Rudy said. "It's so not cookie cutter."

Since December, three sisters worked especially hard on the decorations. Alicia, Brianne and Braquelle Horton - two of whom are juniors - found ideas on the social media website Pinterest and worked after school on most days.

Urch cited their dedication to why most of the decorations got completed.

"Non-stop working," Urch said. "I know there was one day we were off, they came to school."

Jenny Osuna was also instrumental to the process, Rudy said.

Without the committee's dedication, prom would have been "stale at best," she said.

The Thursday before prom, the teens packed 26 jars of candy, and waited around until final touches on strings that had clothespins with each photo of people in the junior and senior class were complete. A parent donated the trailer the teenagers would eventually load all of the supplies into and take to Martin's West an hour and a half before prom on Saturday.

Baranauskas said the experience has taught him not to procrastinate, and how to work with what is available.

"We're the image of the new North Carroll," Baranauskas said. "Like the vintage theme - - we put it together with what we got, but we make it work."

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