Prom Made a Dream Come True For Joplin Students
JOPLIN - Lights, cameras and a red carpet welcomed junior and senior Joplin High School students as they arrived dressed in flowing ball gowns and tuxedos on Saturday. As couples and groups of friends made their way down the red carpet and stepped into the Holiday Inn Convention Center, their hearts fluttered with anticipation of what awaited them inside.
"I don't know exactly what to expect because I've never been to a dance this important before," said junior Ariel Aldrighetti.
What was originally supposed to be a simple Alice and Wonderland themed prom turned into something bigger than they could have ever imagined. Since mid February organizers from J. Bailey Occasions in Fayetteville, Ark. and donors ranging from pop singer Katy Perry made the "Once Upon a Time" prom possible.
"It started out as a thought of wanting to do something cool for the kids of Joplin," said Melissa Blayton, the creator of Joplin's Project Prom.
"Students came up with the idea of three separate rooms of what they wanted and we kind of took their ideas and ran with it," said one of the event organizers Meghann Swafford.
From live gold fish swimming in tall cylinder vases to a tower of freshly baked cupcakes, the venue, food and music were fit for queens and kings.
The glitz and glamour, the flashing lights and the live band took students back to a time when things were a little bit easier.
We can't ever forget what happened May 22nd but we also have to move ahead and make the best of it," said Kerry Sachetta, the principal of Joplin High School.
"It's about them getting a break from everything outside of this and just having a bubble of fun," said Marilyn Six, one of the local prom coordinators. And that bubble of fun included dancing, a henna tattoo station, a chocolate fountain and even a place to play a game of croquet.
While much of the night's festivities focused on the seniors, organizers wanted to make sure the juniors didn't feel completely left out.
"We've felt kind of bad because a lot of attention has been on the seniors this year," said prom coordinator, Amber Travis.
"Our senior year is going to kind of be a letdown after this," sighed junior Ryan Grant.
But just as planners of this prom thought about every inch of detail associated with the fairytale evening, they've already began brainstorming how to make next year's prom just as great.
"We have a pretty incredible city and regardless of whoever does it, I can guarantee that our Joplin proms will always be fantastic because we love our kids," said Six. The staff also raffled off a trip to Disney World for the juniors in attendance that night.
For seniors like David Walker who will head off for college at Missouri Valley in the fall, Prom Night was everything he could have wished for before he closes one chapter in his life and begins another.