Tuesday, May 1, 2018

It’s Showtime! Paparazzi Await At Methacton Post Prom

Students arriving at Methacton for post-prom were greeted by a dramatic cherry colored red carpet and an entranceway styled after Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I didn’t see any Joan Rivers’ wanna be’s stalking the sidelines and waiting to offer commentary on the gowns and tuxes worn by the arriving guests, but you could almost imagine her there. And that’s a good thing, because soon after checking in students will swap out their fancy duds for more comfortable attire far more suitable for the evening’s recreational activities.

As always, the hugely popular community walk-through prior to the post-prom garnered lines well in advance of the 6:30 pm start time as hundreds of students’ family members, friends and curiosity seekers from other towns showed up to await a tour of the over-the-top decorations and fascinating activities that had been prepared for Methacton’s post-prom attendees. Note: link to a 23-minute video set to music featuring all of the decorations can be found here. 

Guests started down the red carpet and wound their way through a hallway depicting past Oscar-winning films, and past the coat check into the gym, where two new features are a virtual reality station and an escape room. As you approach the end of the gym, a rising drumbeat signifying danger ahead leads into the ‘Jumanji’ exhibit featuring 3D jungle animals appearing to leap off the wall and the twinkling nighttime stars of the plains.

Other movies featured in the extensively detailed decorations include Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Minions, Dr. Seuss, Toy Story, Ghostbusters, Titanic, Star Wars, Finding Nemo, Grease and the Wizard of Oz, to name a few. Also included was a section on films from “Bollywood”.  As in prior years, elementary school students handled decorations in the lavatories and were exceptional, as always. This year’s themes included the hilarious “Lego Batman”, ‘9’, a steam punk-themed Tim Burton film, a super scary “It” and the soothing ocean colors and island atmosphere of “Moana”. The Methacton School Board directors and their families put together the 'Minions' display.

2018 marks the 19th year of the premier post-prom event in Montgomery County, attracting close to 100% participation by students attending the prom (93% of prom attendees as of last year, and between 800-900 students in total, some of whom do not attend the prom) and the over one thousand visitors who take the walk-through preview tour. Created to give students a safe place to spend the overnight hours after prom, it’s blossomed over the years to be something students AND parents look forward to experiencing.

Post-prom came about largely because studies show that two of the most dangerous nights for high school students are the evenings following the prom and graduation. As soon as the prom ends, students spend the entire night inside the high school in a safe, drug and alcohol free environment. Free to all junior and senior high school students and their dates, attendees are expected to sign in and stay all night – if they want to leave, parents are called and the students are not released until they arrive.  Students are free to go after 5:30 am but must stay til the end to be eligible to win awesome door prizes.

The high school interior becomes virtually unrecognizable, having been transformed into an entirely new environment. Activities available throughout the night include a casino, sporting events such as dodgeball and volleyball tournaments, a coffee house with entertainment (this year’s theme was Harry Potter), inflatables, a, an arcade, glow laser tag, a comedy/improve group, hypnotist, yoga, trike races, and roving performers. There’s even a dash of reality TV in the form of Cash Cab. Food is available throughout the evening for students and volunteers. New this year was an escape room and virtual reality station.

There’s no cost to the students to attend – all expenses incurred in making the props and decorations, providing food and entertainment, and the prizes that are offered to those who stay all night are paid for by generous donations of hundreds of hours of time, and cash, goods and services from community sponsors, businesses, organizations and families – the operating budget is between $45,000 and $50,000 annually. Several fundraisers are also held during the year to raise funds, such as the annual summer golf outing at Shannondell, and the adult dinner dance held in the wintertime.

Enjoy this compilation of the gorgeous decorations created for “It’s Showtime!”, and these fun facts provided by the post-prom committee:

·        * It takes more than 450 volunteers to work the night of post-prom, for setup, manning the functions and security at post-prom, and clean up the next morning.
·         *60+ local businesses and over 100 families provided cash donations for this year’s post-prom
·         *Post-prom is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer organization and is not affiliated with Home & School or Methacton High School.
·         *Each year a student logo design contest is held, with the winner receiving two free tickets to the prom.
·         *Over 65 volunteers work behind the scenes starting in October each year lending their various talents to design, build and create the decorations and displays for post-prom.
·         *Post-prom decorations are loaned out to seven other Methacton School District schools, five surrounding local school districts, and many local community groups.
·         *The post-prom Education Committee sends notes to all of the local florists and tuxedo shops to tuck into students’ corsages, boutonnieres and jacket pockets reminding students to make good choices on prom night and thanks those shops who’ve agreed to help us keep our students safe.

It’s never too late to donate to support this very worthy cause that saves young lives. If you’d like to contribute, mail your tax-deductible check payable to Methacton Post Prom to: PO Box 39, Eagleville, PA, 19408-0039.