AMHERST – It rained. Then it faded to drizzle. Umbrellas crowded the view. But inclement weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that waited at the front doors of Amherst Regional High School for the first students to arrive for prom.
It was a long wait. The early evening action was down at the fire hall, where students were getting photos taken.
“I’m hysterical,” said Shelbie Sutton, who graduates this year.
Her boyfriend, Brandon Agnew, joined her. The couple has been together two years. They planned to attend the dance, and then camp out in a backyard. They started getting ready for the event more than two months ago, but have had no hand in decorating the school.
“Too busy getting ready for ourselves,” said Sutton.
Kevin Hatheway and Haley Green have been friends forever.
“It was pretty short notice,” said Hatheway.
He was dating someone but that relationship ended. His favourite part of prom was “not the pictures.” Hatheway said it was seeing everyone dressed.
He wasn’t the only one. It was the junior Oscars at the high school, with police cordoning the school’s drive-up entrance, a mosh of well wishers, family – perhaps some unrelated spectators – crowding the concrete ‘carpet’.
San Lilies Bridal and Ladies Wear was named by a number of girls as the source for their dresses.
Around 220 tickets were sold, said teacher-organizer Lesley Parliament-Taylor.
“The prom committee came up with a series of ideas,” she said, and the Grade 12 class voted on the winner: One World, One Night.
In keeping with the theme, the hall was decorated with vignettes of international scenes, with a Venetian gondola on one side and an Egyptian pyramid on the other. An oversized Japanese fan was propped beside a footbridge with Asian decorative touches.
Parliament-Taylor said her 15 committee volunteers were “fabulous”: she estimated each has put in about 30 hours prepping the school since last Friday.
“It’s a celebration of everything high school stood for,” she said.
Debbie Creamer, a retired teacher who broadcast colour commentary to the outdoor crowd, said 80 per cent of the kids will leave the dance before the end. The real event is the preparation: getting ready for the big night.
Luke Power and Amelia Gouchie are part of the 80 per cent. The friends aren’t planning to stay at the actual dance for long.
“Probably leave after about 15 minutes,” said Power.