Under the Lights

Section Writer: Hannah Suh

Prom night is a special night where students are able to dress up and spend time with all of their friends. It is a night that many people look forward to in High School. In order to live up to those expectations of the students, those who are planning for the prom have to try very hard to make it an extra special night. In order to help me understand how this year’s prom was planned, I asked the SGA teacher, Mrs. Ashley Dexter, all about the planning process.

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Prom decorations and tickets. Photo courtesy of: Ashley Watkins

What kind of theme do you have imagined for prom? What is the meaning behind that theme and why did you chose it?

We have to book locations 1-2 years in advance so we just tell the students to think about what kind of themes would go with the location. For the college football hall of fame the theme is “Under the Lights”, with sports decorations you can’t turn it into “Winter Wonderland”

Have you had to plan any proms before? If so, what were some themes that were most memorable to you?

I have planned 5 Proms – 2014 – 755 Club at Turner Field was my 1st “Take me Out to the Ballgame,” next was Ventanas “Masquerade”, then “Georgia on My Mind” at the Georgia Freight Depot, next was “Arabian Nights” at the Fox Theater and this year at the College Football Hall of Fame. Turner Field was memorable because it was my first Prom and we had a really successful year, it was very popular – we sold over 100 more tickets than the previous year for Woodstock’s Prom – it just blew away my expectations and I always try to top what we did the year before. We try to pick exciting venues in Atlanta so students want to buy tickets and attend Prom

Who helps you prepare for prom and how?

SGA plans Prom – the Juniors & Seniors – so if participating in planning Prom is something students are interested in doing they should join SGA. My other teacher sponsors are also essential, I could not make this happen without Jacqueline Vance, Darrah Smith & Nicole Wadsworth.

What are some ideas that you have or had for prom that you wanted to incorporate in order to make it special?

We have fun changing the themes & doing something different each year – it’s fun to create a “Woodstock Hall of Fame” night for Prom.

What are some things that make planning for prom difficult?

Staying on budget, and selling the tickets
– we sell between 600-700 tickets, so it’s a lot to manage & organize


Left: Prom ticket prices. Photo courtesy of: Ashley Watkins

Right: Anna Bailey (11th grade) picking up her tickets.  Photo courtesy of: Ashley Watkins

What is your favorite thing about planning for prom?

I love creating this special evening, it’s a lot of fun and the work has always been worth it!

How were you able to come up with these ideas for prom? What were some things you had to consider with these ideas that maybe limited them or helped them?

The venue dictates what the range of possibilities for themes.

What are you excited to show everyone at this prom?

The venue is different, it’s got some really cool features like the football helmet wall, I think everyone will be excited about the photo booth

What makes planning for prom so special? Why do you think prom is such a big deal?

It’s a special night to get dressed up with friends Prom symbolizes a rite of passage, it’s fun to celebrate with friends

Any ideas for future proms?

We are working on ideas for Prom, but we’ll keep those a secret for now! We’ll be checking out venues as soon as we get out of school this year!

Planning for prom takes a lot more than we all think. Teachers and students are able to come together to plan for this very special night. They put in so much hard work, planning one to two years in advance, in order to make sure everyone has a great night Under the Lights.

Many of those who go to prom do not consider how much work it takes in order to plan for prom. There are many pressures, like living up to everyone’s expectations and making this the best night ever for most students, that make the process difficult. There are aspects such as the budget and location that interferes with planning and makes things pretty complicated.

I hope that we can all give a big thanks to everyone who helped plan and sponsor this year’s prom, “Under the Lights”. They did an amazing job, from selling the tickets to decorating and creating a beautiful night. Hopefully everyone had a fun, safe night that they can remember for years to come.

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