MORIAH — Since prom night is a big event in the lives of many high-school students, some area schools have decided to make what happens afterward just as memorable.The result when some teenagers are not supervised after proms can be unforgettable in a negative way, so teachers and administrators have tried to design after-prom parties that are must-see events.They're also non-alcoholic and drug-free, of course.This year finds teachers, students and parents putting together the first-ever after-prom party at Moriah Central School, while the fourth-year event at Plattsburgh High School has matured into a celebration for almost 200 students.
"So we're doing the original Moriah after-prom party," said teacher Margot Roemischer, the Moriah junior class adviser who's organizing the event. "We decided we'd like to start a new trend. We're making it a drug- and alcohol-free party."She's been holding almost-daily meetings as the May prom date approaches, ordering food and decorations, coordinating business sponsors and lining up entertainment, like medieval jousting and sumo wrestling."We have a bunch of prizes: iPods, Whiteface Mountain ski passes and gift certificates for places like Ground Round and Applebee's," said junior Ciara Thompson."We'll be giving everything away until 3 a.m."The party starts at midnight and ends at 3 a.m. and will include a 60-foot obstacle course, square dancing and a drive-in movie theater set."We have movies of the Class of 2008," Roemischer said. "We have a milk shake machine, so you can watch them while drinking a milk shake."
The Moriah Junior Prom has 140 people signed up to attend."We're hoping for a large turnout at our party," Roemischer said. "The students have gone crazy planning it, and it should be something to remember."Thompson said they resisted the idea of an after-prom party at first, but warmed up to it after Roemischer explained what other schools do."It will be fun. We've been working on it every day. A lot of work is going into this. The whole class is taking part.""We came around," junior Kim Whalen said. "We got on board and supported it."
The party favors will include chocolate bars repackaged in a special Class of 2008 souvenir wrapper."It's a fun group of kids," Roemischer said. "The community has been unbelievable with support. They (sponsors) just keep coming in."Among them are: Mineville Oil, Wal-Mart, International Paper, Bryant's Lumber, Port Henry Marina, J.P. Carrara & Sons, Edgemont Laboratory, Harland Funeral Home, Essex County Youth Bureau, Stewart's Shops, Walt's Propane, Salerno Plumbing and Heating, Port Henry Pharmacy, Westport Marine, Frank Slycord, Alan and Pam Thompson, Aubuchon Hardware, Trombley's Towing, Fashion Corner, Bob Mildon Contracting and Reality Check.Junior Mayami Wagstaff Blaise said they went business to business asking for support."We got a lot of sponsors that way. Miss Roemischer told us what other schools' after-prom events had been doing and it worked."Their work will intensify as they get closer to the Saturday of the prom, Whalen said."We'll start to set up Thursday, then work through all day Friday. Saturday, we have to get ready to go to the prom."Also on hand will be Parties Unlimited of Lake Placid, setting up the jousting equipment.Whalen said prom tickets include admission to the party."We got great party favors, too. There'll be lots of food."
The party will have an Essex County Sheriff's Department deputy at the door checking students for alcohol use."No alcohol and no drugs will be allowed," Roemischer said. "You have to have a permission slip to leave."Students won't be allowed to leave early because that could lead to illegal activities somewhere else."There are a lot of chaperones," Thompson said. "Everyone who needs a ride home can find a ride."For the Plattsburgh Senior High School after-prom party, students aren't allowed to drive, said Athletic Director Joseph Staves, who's organizing the party for the fourth year in a row."They will change at the Senior High School into jeans or sweats (after the prom). We bus them down to the Middle School. No student drives him or herself."Once there, students aren't allowed to leave the Middle School until it's over."We take very close attendance," Staves said. "They have to fill out a form. They have to tell us what arrangements they have to be taken home."
The earlier students sign up for the PHS after-prom party, the more prizes they can win."When they get there, they're given raffle tickets, depending on how early they signed up," Staves said. "We give them a gift, a T-shirt or a key chain. We have all kinds of food all night long."The after-prom party is expensive, but it's worth it, Staves said."We do small raffles; we look for people to donate for us. Later in the evening, we do $75 prizes. We gave away a $650 computer one year."
Attendance at the PHS party has been rising every year, Staves said."We went from 165 (students) the year before to 189 last year. It was excellent attendance."Plattsburgh also offers all sorts of games and events at the party."We do inflatable games. We've had sumo wrestling, volleyball, an obstacle course, human jousting. We hope to have our climbing wall available in the back parking lot."The party runs from 1 to 4:30 a.m.This year, there's a chance students may get to be hypnotized into good behavior."We might have a hypnotist this year," Staves said. "We're working on that."He said that in the three years the party has been held, there have been no negative incidents at the event."The community's been great. Chaperones are parents, teachers and interested individuals. We've never had one little problem. The kids have been fantastic. They've been respectful."It's been very, very good."