Prom season: time arrives for a major social event
For high school boys and girls, the arrival of spring brings about an exciting time of year.
As the weather grows warmer, flowers begin to bloom, and summer break inches closer, so too does a major social event — prom.
It’s the most prominent formal event for any high school, and probably the only opportunity of the year where teenagers can wear ball gowns and tuxedoes.
At area high schools students are preparing to show up for their big day in style, and many are doing so with help from local businesses.
Super seniors at Vance County Early College High School are especially excited for the school’s first prom since its inception, happening this weekend.
A Mardi Gras theme is being planned by Parent Teacher Association President Angela Matthews.
“Our theme is Mardi Gras Magic,” Matthews said. “We’re going to be doing all the decorating in the civic center.”
Several guys at the Early College are planning to implement the festive Mardi Gras theme into their prom attire, opting for less traditional tuxedos.
“I’m trying to do something with more bright colors instead of that typical black and white,” said Quentin Spruill, a fifth-year senior. “I’m going to wear a bow tie instead of a regular tie.”
De’Mar Yarborough, also a fifth-year senior, picked up his scarlet and ivory tux at Elegant Evenings on Dabney Drive in Henderson.
“What I liked about it was I got to choose my own blazer and my own cuff links,” Yarborough said. “I’ve got a pattern on my vest instead of regular satin.”
Matching his date will be an important styling note for Jeremy Faucette, who’s taking one of the many close friends he’s made in five years at the school.
“Our whole class, we’re kind of like a family because we started off with 74, and now there’s 40 of us, so we’re all pretty close,” Yarborough said. “As far as the tux goes, I’m going to try to match it with white or something like that, something bright.”
For the ladies, months can be spent searching for the perfect dress, only to find it and then need the perfect shoes and matching accessories.
Deciding on a hairstyle is next, followed by makeup, manicures and pedicures.
At The Blushing Bride in Henderson, girls can find a dress, and also a place to get their makeup done with Merle Norman Cosmetics, a skin care and cosmetic line headquartered in Los Angeles.
“I’ve been doing Merle Norman for 19 years,” said storeowner Fran Cawthorne. “We have a lot of girls already scheduled. May 4 seems to be our biggest day.
“We’re booking fast.”
That’s the date for Northern Vance’s prom. Kerr-Vance is also this weekend, with Western on May 3 and Southern on May 25. Plenty of others, both public and private schools, are sprinkled in the next weekend.
Alisha Murray, a junior at J.F. Webb in Oxford, received a makeup trial run at The Blushing Bride in late March. Knowing what color pallet works best with her eyes and skin tone will allow for an easy application process on the day of prom, April 27.
“Java’s almost black,” said Cawthorne as she applied java eyeliner on Murray. “It has enough brown in it to really make the blue eyes pop.”
While Murray feels shorter cocktail-like dresses are a popular prom trend for girls this year, she opted for a gown more suited to her taste.
“I feel like the most popular thing this year is like the short cocktail-looking thing, but I like long prom dresses, strapless,” Murray said.
Sarah Robinson, a fifth-year senior at Vance County Early College High School, works part-time at The Blushing Bride, where she’s noticed first hand the type of dress most girls are looking.
“Most girls look for something skin tight, wanting to show off their curves, and most of them like short dresses,” Robinson said. “There are some that like the whole princess ball gown, but most of them short and slim fitting.”
Cawthorne says during prom season she can sell around 100 dresses on a good year, and about 50 during a slower year.
“I carry one line, but if they don’t have their size, we order them,” Cawthorne said. “We don’t stock all of them by any means. It’s just so many.”
Robinson, who was searching for a simple yet elegant dress, opted to order her dress from the store.
“I like strapless and sweetheart neckline,” Robinson said. “I’m not much on splits.”
Searching for functional attire that feels as good as it looks is an aspect Robinson feels will assure a memorable prom night.
A dress that can be re-worn is an added bonus.
“I was looking for something that was moderate and comfortable,” she said, “something I might be able to wear again.”
Seniors at Northern Vance are looking forward to their prom on May 4, where many will be dressed to coordinate with the school’s Las Vegas theme, one voted on by the seniors.
“There were three options they could vote on,” said Kaitlyn Moody, a senior and prom committee member at Northern Vance. “I think most people are looking forward to that night.”
Locally, Stems and Petals on Williams Street in Henderson will be decorating the school’s venue at the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center.
Also preparing for a prom this weekend at the Henderson Country Club will be Kerr-Vance Academy, where a unique tradition has been carried on for the past 25 years.
“Our juniors put on the prom for the seniors each year,” said Paul Villatico, headmaster at Kerr-Vance. “The theme, decorations, gifts and all are secret.
“The juniors plan and work on the prom all year to make it special. We’re very proud of how hard they work and how well they work together.”
Also unique to the school is a breakfast held after the prom, hosted by junior parents.
“Around midnight all the kids go eat at the one house,” Villatico said. “Many of the parents help plan and stage the breakfast, another great tradition.”
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