Legislator praises school for holding hometown prom

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2006

Thirty or 40 years from now when their children are getting ready for the junior/senior prom, former Sunshine High School students will have a story to tell.

This past Friday, Representative Ralph Howard relived his teenage days as he made a special appearance at the 2006 junior/senior prom.

But Howard, D-District 72, didn’t just make the appearance to have fun. He showed up to commend the Sunshine staff and students for keeping their once-in-a-lifetime event at home.

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“The Greensboro kids are going Tuscaloosa and spending the night there in hotels and that’s not right,” Howard said. “Prom is about the school and the people you went to school with. It’s about decorating and cleaning up. This is your prom.”

As opposed to Greensboro High students, juniors and seniors at Sunshine chose all of their d/cor for the night, from the purple and white double staircase backdrop to the live-action fountain in the middle of the dance floor.

“They had to plan this from the ground up. They came up with a theme and they put their personal touch to everything. It’s not like just walking into the Sheraton, or whatever,” Sunshine principal Kirby Pickens said. “Traditionally it’s been held at the school and it takes away from the concept to take it somewhere else. It’s just safer and more meaningful to have it in a school setting.”

Keeping the sanity of parents in mind, Pickens said they could rest easier at night knowing their children are not on the road, or in a hotel room somewhere without supervision.

Parents also had to travel to Tuscaloosa, Howard said, to witness the “lead out,” which is similar to the red carpet walk at an awards show.

But it wasn’t just the adults who appreciated the prom being at home, some students preferred not to spend the night on the road as well.

“By staying here we got to decorate and that’s the fun part,” Sunshine junior Jonjala Jackson said. “We aren’t just doing the prom for us, it’s so we can be proud of our school and our city. So I feel like, as juniors, we should put the work in.”

However, senior Sherita Howard didn’t care where she had her last prom, whether it was in the school gym or a fancy hotel, as she could have that last moment with her friends.

“I’d take either one as long as it’s prom,” she said. “For me, the best part about it was taking a few days from class to make over the gym. It’s prom and it’s about the people you grew up with because this is the last time you’ll see some of them.”

As for the end of the night, the Sunshine staff has no influence on what the students do after the prom, Pickens said.

“But we have to take care of it on our end,” Howard added, “because can’t control them once they leave here.”