A memorable night is nigh

Selei Buracker, 17, a Skyline High School junior, gathers chain decorations made out of ticket stubs for the school's prom. Rich Cooley/Daily

The excitement begins this month as area high school students prepare for prom season. Discovering the perfect dress, suit, shoes, accessories and hairstyle is a fun adventure for many students who are nearing the end of their high school years.

Prom themes this year range from glitzy circus to downtown New Orleans, with decorations being made by students, staff and volunteers to create a memorable night for all who attend.

After the main event is over, some students will have the option to extend their night of fun into the early hours of the following day at an after-prom event.

Skyline High School kicked off the season by holding their prom Friday evening at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club in Front Royal. Skyline’s prom is the earliest prom date of any of the area high schools. Their prom theme is “A Night Under the Big Top” a glitzy circus theme. No-after prom event was scheduled.

At Warren County High School, juniors and seniors will attend prom at the Bowling Green Country Club on May 14.

Megan Windham, an eighth grade science teacher and junior class sponsor, hangs a circus tent over the entrance to the banquet room at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club on Friday during preparations for the school's prom. Rich Cooley/Daily

Principal Jordan Ernestine said they also have not scheduled an after-prom event this year.

Shenandoah County high schools will be hosting prom and after-prom events for students.

Stonewall Jackson High School’s After Prom Committee is planning a “Surf’s Up”-themed after-prom event at The Massanutten WaterPark in Mcgaheysville.

Carla Murphy, who leads the committee, said the students will be able to attend the after-prom event for free for a fun alcohol- and drug-free night following the school’s prom, which will be held May 14.

“It’s a free night of fun,” she said, adding that the water park will be open just for the students, who will leave the prom, held at their high school, around 1 a.m. and leave the water park around 3:30 a.m. When they return to the school, a breakfast buffet will be provided.

Kara Snyder, left, and Sara Rutherford, right, both 16, have their photo board photo taken by Kyra Clowser, also 16, in between decorating the banquet room at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club for Skyline High School's prom. Rich Cooley/Daily

Summer Baker, committee treasurer, said students will be able to play trivia for prizes while on the bus to occupy their time.

“It’s a good incentive for them to stay in an alcohol-free environment and in a safe environment,” she said. “The community support is huge.”

The grand prize includes $500 for one senior boy and one senior girl. Baker added that if enough money is raised, each student who attends will be able to walk out with a prize.

“The after-prom event is also about camaraderie and school spirit,” she said. “And giving them a memorable experience.”

Murphy said that 150 to 200 students attend the after-prom event each year.

Alissa Smith, 16, a Skyline High School junior, holds centerpiece arrangements for tables on Friday afternoon at the Shenandoah Valley Country Club in Front Royal. Students gathered there to decorate the banquet room for their school prom on Friday evening. Skyline's prom kicks off prom season in the region. Rich Cooley/Daily

To raise after-prom funds, the committee has held fundraisers, including selling homecoming T-shirts and umbrellas, hosting a haunted house, and selling fall portraits.

“We raise anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 each year to be able to hold the event for the kids,” Murphy said.

At the central campus, Central High School’s prom will be held May 21 at the county fairgrounds. The theme is “Secret Garden.” The after-prom will be held at the school.

Principal Melissa Hensley said the after-prom theme is “Game On.”

Strasburg High School’s prom will be held May 7 at the school.  This year’s theme is not being publicized, according to Principal Morgan Saeler.

“The prom committee has decided they would like to surprise the senior class with the theme of the prom, revealing it as they walk into the gym for prom,” he said.

Saeler added that the after-prom committee has inflatable games and lots of food. They are also looking to get donations from local businesses for prizes.

“Should keep the kids busy and having fun,” he said.

In Frederick County, Sherando High School will hold its prom on April 23.

Division spokesman Steve Edwards said the theme is a masquerade ball. The entrance to the school gym where the event will be held will be decorated to look like downtown New Orleans, with gates and hanging baskets. The school’s common area located outside the gym will be decorated to look like a café and will include a photo booth. The gym will be decorated to appear like a steam boat.

The school does not hold an after-prom event.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com