By Tim Kelly
The Ocean City High School After-Prom Committee is ready to outdo itself. Again.
This year’s post-Prom bash on Saturday night into Sunday’s wee hours promises more of what has made it so successful: unlimited food, fun, music, dancing, prizes large and small and, yes – cash.
“One thing we’ve learned is that these kids love money,” laughed Committee Co-Chair Amy Holmes, “and why not? Everybody does.”
That said, Holmes is quick to point out that there is no price tag on providing a safe, fun drug and alcohol-free event for OC HS students, and one the students choose to attend, which the After-Prom has delivered since 1995.
More than 600 students are expected to participate in the festivities, about the same number as last year, organizers said.
It all begins when the Prom ends at 11 p.m. Shuttle buses will be provided from the Flanders Hotel back to OCHS. After-Prom is also open to students who didn’t attend the Prom itself. It runs until 4 a.m.
Community are invited to attend an open house at 8 p.m. while the Prom is in full swing, to see firsthand what the students can look forward to.
“We’re proud of After-Prom and we would love for the community to see everything that goes into it,” Holmes said.
“Our students have a choice to attend a safe and fun event and the majority chose to do so,” she said. “That’s probably the most satisfying thing (for committee members).
Holmes, a 1990 OCHS grad co-chairs the event with three other alums: her husband Bill, Jennifer Bowman, both members of the class of 1987; and Bowman’s spouse Charlie, a 1984 grad.
Jennifer, a third grade teacher in Upper Township, and Bill are the parents of four (Matthew, Charis, Evan and Luke) the Bowmans are parents of three (Caroline, Katie and Kelsea).
“Collectively, the families have had at least one child at the high school directly benefitting from After Prom for 10 years now,” Holmes said. “I wish we had something like this when I was in high school.”
This year’s theme, “Aloha,” will send the students to a tropical paradise within the walls of their school. Attendees will be greeted at the door with a lei and ushered down a beautifully-decorated walk.
What awaits are a variety of games, activities and drawings and the opportunity for a senior boy and girl to win all the trimmings for a tricked out dorm room. One senior will win $1,000. A junior will walk away with $250.
Those who don’t score the big money are still in the running for some other cool prizes like a standup paddle board, a new bike, Go Pro cameras and many others. Also to be won are keys to the “Treasure Box” containing 400 envelopes with gift cards for local goods and services.
“The keys are popular because the gift cards can be anything from $20 at 7th Street Surf Shop to $5 at Wawa.
The price tag to attend does not exist. Everything is free.
There’s plenty of physical and competitive games for the athletes, a “Coffee Shop” for those whose interests lie in the arts. Music lovers will have three different DJ’s to enjoy and there will be live music karaoke with a full band playing the music for the student crooners.
The Coffee Shop will also have a continuous loop video playing of the students walk on the red carpet at the start of the prom.
“That’s a popular feature where the kids get to see themselves all dressed up and to see their friends,” said Holmes.
Cost of the event is mainly borne by sponsors. Businesses and restaurants from all over town donate gift cards and other prizes. The main sponsors are:
- Miss Night in Venice Pageant Committee
- Ocean City Board of Education
- Ocean City-Upper Township Municipal Alliance Committee
- Sea Isle City Board of Education
- Gillian’s Wonderland Pier
- Playland’s Castaway Cove
For the committee, making the After-Prom happen requires a year-round planning process with meetings every other week, until May “when from that point on we meet every day,” Holmes said. She thanked the Ocean City Board of Ed for supplying use of the building, maintenance, custodial and security personnel, and the Board of Ed of Sea Isle City made a large contribution, Holmes said.
She singled out committee members Sarah Lee, Gabrielle Mulloy, Lisa Yiannos, Travis and Melissa Wade, Ellen Byrne and Bill Heap.
At the end of the day, or in this case, the Prom, a successful After Prom”is a school and community-wide” effort, Holmes said…