Beginning in May, high-school seniors and juniors will be donning their pressed tuxedos or silk gowns for a night of good food, loud music and dancing.
After the disco ball has completed its last rotation at prom, however, several of the revelers will shed their fine duds for more comfy clothes and games of Twister, pool or the bungee run.
A number of Fairfax County Public Schools' PTSAs will be playing host to after-prom parties aimed at providing the teens an alcohol- and drug-free way to make prom night last into the wee hours of the next morning.
"We just wanted some place the kids can kick back, be safe and let the parents take care of them," said Ella Lee, co-chair of the South Lakes High after-prom event, dubbed “The Event After the Event.” "We want them there, and we want them to have fun."
THE AFTER-PROM PARTIES are as varied as the students they are intended for, ranging from a night of bowling to taking over a fitness club. The purpose is the same, however, and that is to provide students a way to celebrate after prom without engaging in illegal behavior such as underage drinking.
“We’re doing this because after prom and graduation are traditionally the two biggest nights for drinking,” said Marguerite Shapalis, PTSA president at Centreville High School. “It’s a drug- and alcohol-free event that’s fun. We really want to set an example for the kids.”
This year, the Centreville party is borrowing from the show “Friends” and creating “Centreville Perk” coffeehouse. Juniors and seniors are invited to attend regardless of whether they actually go to the prom, which is June 14.
The coffeehouse will be “open” from 1-4 a.m. after the prom at the school, and admission is free.
“It will be fully catered by The Traveling Bean, and there will be fruit smoothies, coffee, whatever the kids want,” said Mary Gibson, Centreville’s after-prom party co-chair. “There will also be a DJ, inflatable games, and we’re trying to get pool tables.”
In addition to turning the school into a coffeehouse, all of the couches and other furniture will be donated to charity afterward. The entire event is being funded by parent donations, contributions from local businesses and an upcoming car-ash fund-raiser.
MADISON HIGH SCHOOL in Vienna will be taking over the World Gate Health Club in Herndon after its prom on June 8. This is a return trip for the WarHawks, who not only held their after-prom party at the club two years ago but also staged their prom there when its original location fell through. Madison’s party is also free for juniors and seniors regardless of whether they attend the prom. The fun gets started at midnight and continues until 4 a.m.
The party will include a tennis court, Twister, bungee run, volleyball, basketball, kick boxing, disc jockey, door prizes, squash, fake tattoos, nail painting and plenty of food, said Deborah Mateer, the event’s co-chair.
“The kids just come. They go home and change. They know what to expect and that it will be fun,” said Sue Schrader, who is organizing her third after-prom party at Madison. “We give them enough to keep them occupied. We have kids that make it to 4 a.m.”
The junior class sponsors the after-prom party.
AT SOUTH LAKES, the festivities will shift from the prom at Westfield on June 7, to the Reston Community Center for “The Event After the Event,” from 1-5 a.m.
“We’ll have light foods, finger foods, a coffee bar, DJ, and student bands can perform. We have a variety of talent,” said Lee. “There will also be karaoke and poetry readings, games and videos.”
The cost of the party is tacked onto the prom ticket, and if a student does not attend the prom, there is a small admission fee at the door.
Lee said the after-prom committee is still looking for South Lake student bands that would like to perform and of course parent volunteers.
WESTFIED in Chantilly, the newest county high school, started a tradition last year when after its first prom, it took over the Bowl America for a night of “Cosmic Bowling,” loud music, funky lights and food.
Following the senior prom on June 7, the party shifts to the bowling alley in Chantilly, where there will be plenty of food, an ice cream bar and breakfast.
“The idea is to be a little more low-key. The kids have been formal all night,” said Lynn Terher, PTSA president at Westfield. “We had the party until 5 a.m. last year, and we had to throw kids out.”
The event is open to students who purchase tickets to the prom.
Also having after-prom parties are Chantilly, Herndon and Oakton high schools.