Prom night

Already dressed for a ball, the prom guests only lacked a masquerade-style mask. But as soon as they entered they were able to select one that suited them from hundreds of choices on a table in the entryway.

Draped in glitter and dotted with images of masks, the high school cafeteria had been transformed into a masquerade ballroom by the hard work of parents, prom committee kids, and staff, said prom co-sponsor Amy McCauley. Though the process of decorating often takes until midnight the night before prom, the “tremendous help” of volunteers got the job done this year by 8 p.m. “It’s really humbling when you ask for help and so many people volunteer,” McCauley said. After prom is over, more volunteers come from local churches to take the decorations down so that they can lend a sparkle to upcoming summer programs.

The quiet hall burst into life when the guests arrived. Bright spots of color in a dimly-lit room, the young ladies floated onto the dance floor with their gallant escorts. The gentlemen’s attire was coordinated with that of their ladies – a fact which caused most of the young men to admit that they had been told what to wear. One brilliant young lady, Tori Besecker, took it a step further with date Caleb Belew. “I bought his outfit – so he didn’t really have a choice,” she explained with a laugh.

Some of the girls had spent months looking for the perfect dress to wear to prom: Natalie Bellatty and Hailey Gaudreault, for example, both started their search in December. But others hit the jackpot right away. “It took me no time to find my dress,” Besecker said. “I found it on Craigslist.”

Shelby Holtz found her dress through The Glass Slipper, a project spearheaded by Fluvanna resident Kim Feight. After collecting donations of new and like-new dresses, shoes, and accessories, Feight and the group of women assisting her sold them for a nominal price at an event called “Dresses into Dreams” held at Effort Baptist Church in March. The Glass Slipper project makes it possible for young women, who may not have the means or inclination to pay hundreds of dollars, to nonetheless find a perfect outfit for their special night.

“I was a little iffy at first,” Holtz explained. “I wondered if they were just going to have a bunch of tacky stuff. But it was all really great. It didn’t take me long at all to find my dress – I loved it.”

Choir Director Horace Scruggs kept the music going all night, playing songs submitted in advance by the high school students. He explained that the prom committee rented all the sound equipment from the choral department. Everyone benefits from this arrangement, he said, since the prom committee gets a good rate and the fees go to the choral department to assist with their programs.

Before the night was through, senior Hannah Meador was crowned prom queen next to senior Darien Tinsley, prom king. They both were elected to that honor by their peers.

When asked what they hoped to remember about the evening, many students mentioned fun, meeting new people, and making memories. Natalie Bellatty and Hailey Gaudreault summed up what prom is all about: “Dancing, laughter, and fun with friends.”


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