PHS gears up for prom — and its aftermath

A committee of PHS parents is organizing an elaborate, alcohol- and drug-free post-prom party.

By: Carly Rothman
   The high school prom is a significant event for most American teen-agers — a night for fun, friends and fancy clothes, and for celebrating their high school careers.
   But prom night also has its dangers.
   "It’s a night you kids look forward to," says Okhee Hyon, Princeton High School parent and PTO member. "But, unfortunately, many of you look at it as a night to get wasted."
   Prom night is widely acknowledged to be a night for particularly heavy drinking among high school students, and for high incidences of drunken driving. One statistic from Mothers Against Drunk Driving shows that during the prom season of 2000, between April 14 and June 18, over 55 percent of all traffic fatalities among teen-agers were alcohol-related.
   Princeton High School has not had any alcohol-related prom night fatalities in recent years, but that does not mean it could not happen.
   To help ensure the safety of PHS juniors and seniors on the night of their upcoming prom – and to enhance their prom night fun – a committee of PHS parents, led by co-chairs Ms. Hyon and Carrie Strasburger, is organizing an elaborate, alcohol- and drug-free post-prom party.
   "We understand that the fun doesn’t end at 1 a.m." when the prom closes, said Ms. Hyon. "As parents, we are looking for a fun alternative (to drinking after the prom)."
   This Mardi Gras theme party, which will be held at the high school from 1:30 through 3:30 a.m. after the prom, will feature a wide variety of games and activities, including riding a Bungee Bull, jousting, a "sports challenge" game, a karaoke café, where students can take home videos of their performances, and Ping-Pong. There also will be a large assortment of casino games, all run by professional dealers.
   There will be prizes and plenty of food, as well as a secured coat closet in which students coming straight from the prom may store their formal wear after they change into more casual attire.
   "We’re trying to provide a really fun and entertaining evening," said Ms. Hyon. "A venue of continued excitement and fun — in a no-alcohol, no-drug setting."
   All juniors and seniors, and their dates, are welcome to attend, including those juniors and seniors who do not attend the prom itself, although no new guests will be admitted after 2:30 a.m.
   The party will be free; funding for this event has been provided through private donations by parents and businesses, including the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance, Princeton Orthopedics, Corner House, the Cranbury Arts Council, the Cranbury Lodge and other Princeton and Cranbury area businesses.
   The committee also applied for and received a $1,000 grant from the Amica Insurance Co. through the "Save the Night" program, which supports post-prom parties in various schools and communities. The grant will be used to provide 10 $100 cash prizes for students randomly drawn from those attending the post-prom party.
For more information on the post-prom party, contact Ms. Hyon at (609) 683-1252. To make a donation to the post-prom party fund, mail a check made out to "Princeton PTO" to the attention of the PTO, Princeton High School, 151 Moore Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.