On Friday, June 17, we held our first prom. This year’s theme? “Under the Sea”! As we planned the dance, we wanted this experience to be an unforgettable one knowing that many of our students had never attended prom. And it was unforgettable indeed! And as an added bonus, prom provided a respite evening for families and guardians thanks to the many volunteers that helped our staff put on this special evening and chaperone!
As planning progressed, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our community wanting to be part of this special night. From one Facebook post we put out on the group page, “Stand Up to COVID 19 – Support Local Tulsa Business,” several people responded to donate. We received so many beautiful dresses donated for students who needed one, Emerge Spa and several other individual beauticians helped provide make-up and hair styling for all students and staff, Elite Custom Photo Booths donated their services all the way from Chickasha, photographers and videographers donated their time, and many delicious on-theme snacks, drinks, and décor were received. And we also gained new volunteers who went above and beyond!
As prom approached, so did the excitement. Students looked forward to choosing an outfit, but two days before the dance, we had a student share that his family could not afford to get him a suit and that he really wanted to wear one to prom. One of our staff members called a friend and asked him if he had a suit the student could borrow, and without hesitation, he offered to purchase one for him. The next day with a bright smile on his face, the student was able to select his dream blue suit, a tie, and cologne at Suit Connection Tulsa, thanks to the generosity of Brandon Hayes.
When the big event finally arrived, students began to arrive looking like kings and queens. As they entered, they strut their stuff on the sparkly blue carpet and were received by our volunteer “paparazzi” with smiling faces, bubbles, and flashing cameras. Female students each received a corsage, and each male student received a boutonniere.
In classes prior to prom night, students learned and practiced dancing to help make them feel more comfortable and confident. And boy, did practice pay off! That dance floor was on fire! A number of students never left the dance floor, but those that did, either took a break to sit down in our designated rest area and chatted with friends, or they went to a fun activity room where they could participate in a karaoke performance, create a magical sea-inspired sensory bottle or sand art to take home as a souvenir.
The night was filled with smiles and new memories that our students will deeply cherish. Student Paige said, “Before, I was sad because I didn’t go to my high school prom since I didn’t have anyone to go with, but this year I am thankful because I got to wear a beautiful pink dress with flowers and had a fun time dancing with my friends.”
The prom was such a success and meant so much to our students and families that we have decided we must make prom an annual event. If you would like to donate or sponsor this wonderful event for 2023, please contact our program manager, Lori Williamson, at [email protected] or call 918.859.0060.