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The West Press

The West Press

The West Press

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Prom 2024: Behind the Scenes

Since the beginning of the school year, Lakota West’s Junior Board created their 2024 prom, “Met Gala.”
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As the end of the year approaches, many students look forward to prom, a long-standing tradition for upperclassmen (Juniors and Seniors) to celebrate their final years in high school through a night of dancing, dresses, and spending time with friends. For some, the night goes by quickly, but for the Junior Board of Lakota West, prom has been a grueling 8-month-long process to put together. From designing tables to gathering dozens of students’ artwork from around the district, plenty goes on behind the scenes to make Lakota West’s prom a night to remember.

During the early months of September, the Junior Board is assembled and meets every other Thursday to discuss the year’s theme, and what work needs to go into making the event possible. Members have the ability to present themes, and present their vision to the other Junior Board members, and decide on what they want to focus in on for the year. This year, the Junior Board settled on the Met Gala, an event that happens every year during the spring months, where celebrities show off show-stopping fashion, such as Zendaya’s 2019 Cinderella Dress, or Jared Leto’s 2023 Cat outfit. The outfits are meant to stand out and be as elaborate as possible; the more glamorous you can be, the better. The Junior Board wanted to see what students were able to come with, and the results were not disappointing, with students wearing mirrorball dresses, outlandish pink suits, and so much more.

The idea for the Met Gala was conceptualized at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, with Jordan Otabil being the mastermind behind the theme. 

“I just liked the idea of elegance for prom, and wanted it to be very regal and have a different look from Homecoming,” said Jordan, regarding the theme. “I think prom is so important to the students at West because it’s like a stepping stone for upperclassmen. You’ve almost reached the end of high school.”

During the later months of 2023 and the winter of 2024, Junior Board met each week to make purchases of flowers, vases, artwork, statues, and foliage. During this time, the board also reached out to different art classes from Jr. High upwards, including teachers such as Mr. Gronas, Mrs. Panfalone, Mrs. Gauer, Mr. Mental, and others. Artwork even came from Lakota Central, with all different types of interpretations of what the Met Gala was to them. For some, their artworks were recreations of famous pieces through watercolors or pastels. For others, clay and glue were used to give texture to their piece. With over 150+ pieces submitted by West’s art department, the talents of Lakota artists were put on full display for over one thousand students and staff who attended. 

As the day of prom, April 27th approached, the Junior Board began creating hedges, gathering materials, and packaging up artwork to be delivered to the Savannah Center, where the event would take place. One of the table decorations required a bit more work, which became prominent during the finals weeks; the vases, which held a flower and stringed fairy lights, would be filled with water and Orbeez which would instill a floating effect on anything placed inside of it. 

With two 20-gallon containers filled with Orbeez, the vases were filled and helped to bring the tables provided to life, with not only a mesmerizing look but also a warm glow to draw the attention of anyone nearby.

Other decorations included two massive boxes covered with foliage, with lion statues resting on top. Red carpets outlined the step and repeat banners, with a 360 camera included for any students to use an unlimited amount, for free.

The night itself was a success, with just over 1000 students attending (just a bit lower than average, which is 1100). For the members of the Junior Board, this was their “Superbowl” as they like to call it; after spending the entire school year gathering everything needed to make the event happen, the day off has been long awaited and anticipated for not just the board, but also the upperclassmen of West.

“I love working with the Junior Board. The creativity and ideas the students come up with always amazes me! They start with an idea, create the invitations, design the décor, and marvel in the final look,” said Kristin Henley, the Secretary at West Freshman and head of the Junior Board. “In the early stages, the students dream of a Prom with an unlimited budget and we make adjustments as necessary…the fun, and the excitement are parts of the event that make up the beauty of the Prom for all of us.”

Once the clock strikes 11 pm, the work isn’t over quite yet! The Junior Board meets back up once the dance floor has cleared, and tears down all decorations, tables, foliage, lighting, and any other belongings that were found lying around. By midnight, the Savannah Center looks nearly untouched, except for the towers of chairs pushed up against the walls and tables put back in storage.

As a member of the Junior Board, the experience is truly one of a kind, and I loved every second of it. Getting to put together an event loved by so many is such a fulfilling feeling, and knowing that these memories will last for years is touching. More likely than not, somewhere down the road, you will tell your kids about your Prom, how magical it was, and why they too should attend when they are a Junior or Senior. Although the work wasn’t easy, the tradition of prom is loved by many, and the process of putting everything together is immensely worth it. There’s no other dance that holds the magic of prom; The dancing, the dresses, the memories that will last forever.

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About the Writer
Thomas Price
Thomas Price, Website Manager
Thomas Price is a second-year student in Journalism who has been heavily involved in The West Press over the last school year. He participates in many of Lakota’s extra-curricular and in-school programs, such as being a member of the Hope Squad, Junior Board, Lakota West Drumline, performer in the Marching Band, and a Percussionist in Symphonic Winds. As a creatively driven student, Thomas is also skilled in many technical areas, whether through the use of photography, video design, or media creation. Through The West Press, he focuses on writing local news and opinion articles, giving daily insight into the good and bad West has to offer to its students and staff.

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