Miles McCreery has big plans for his prom date. Plans that include a scavenger hunt masked with clues that will lead her straight to the treasure — himself.
The self-proclaimed “goofy” Booker High School junior envisions himself as James Bond, sitting cool, calm and collected in a classy black tux, at Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant, when his date arrives.
Right now, the only thing missing from McCreery’s romantic scheme is the most important of all — the girl.
He hasn’t yet decided whom he will ask to prom.
At Booker, the junior advisory board always plans the prom. Students started brainstorming last January for this year’s theme, “Hollywood: A Red Carpet Affair.”
On May 21, the Hyatt Regency, Sarasota ballroom will be clothed in a sea of red, black and gold, with cardboard cutouts of Justin Bieber, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and Darth Vader. Students will enter through red-velvet ropes and waltz down a red carpet like they’re walking into the Grammys.
BHS students typically take the non-traditional route when it comes to dressing for prom. They’ve been known to show up in everything from white tuxes to duct-tape dresses and suits.
“The guys actually dress up a lot and are color coordinated from head to toe,” said Ashley Harris, BHS English teacher and junior board adviser. “They’ll match lime green shoes with a vest.”
If the board can get the specifics figured out, the pinnacle of the evening will be a balloon drop in the middle of the dance floor.
Riverview High School
Kate Phinney was sitting at DaRuMa with her boyfriend when the chef spelled out “prom” in oil and then lit it on fire.
However, her friend Gabbie Amontree beat her boyfriend to the punch.
“I work at Big Olaf with my boyfriend — that’s how we met — and I thought it was appropriate to ask him there,” Amontree said. “One day he was counting money, and I set up all these gummy bears. I wrote ‘John, will you go to prom with me?’ It took me like 15 minutes.”
A year before teacher Jason Mocherman became the senior class adviser, prom was held in the RHS cafeteria. Other locations have included the Sarasota Bradenton International Convention Center and the Hyatt, but the location moved in 2007 to the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.
“When I first took over the senior class, nobody was putting effort into it,” Mocherman said. “The kids have one senior year, one chance for homecoming and prom — it’s important for me that they get the chance to do that.”
The students selected “Tomorrow Never Dies” as this year’s theme to symbolize moving on and the future. Although the Ritz-Carlton handles most of the decorating, such as color-changing flashing lights on the walls, the prom committee is making this year’s prom special by adding a five-course menu for dinner, a pre-function socialization area and an ice sculpture. They’re also creating an on-site prom king and queen voting booth.
The Riverview prom committee says the trend for dresses is bright, popping colors and classic navy and long, strapless and one-shoulder styles.
But, as for the music, there are some stipulations for Saturday’s big event.
“We have a no-Justin-Bieber clause on music this year,” Mocherman says.
Sarasota High School
Holly Benedict’s boyfriend of three years, Josh Harris, got special permission from the principal to plaster the walls of Sarasota High School in posters that asked her to be his prom date.
“When I came in the next morning, I didn’t see any of them because the janitors took them all down,” Benedict said. “There was only one still hanging.”
For the past five years, Sarasota High School’s prom theme has been “Under the Sea” every other year. Not wanting to indulge in a sea fantasy again this year, the prom committee broke tradition and opted for “Black Tie Affair.”
On May 14, the prom committee will be filling giant vases with water and using food coloring to dye the water red, then adding candles, as they transform the Hyatt ballroom into prom perfection.
“We want it to be elegant, simplistic, chic and very classy,” said Juleah Aiken.
Mermaid dresses are the hot item at Sarasota High School, along with patterned dresses. The junior girls who attend prom usually wear shorter dresses; seniors opt for longer options.
Aside from narrowing down the song list — Lil Wayne’s “Bring It Back” is No. 1 on the three-page list for the DJ — all that’s left for the committee is to make the favors and create the grand entrance: white columns and cardboard letters spray-painted gold and wrapped with lights.
“We’ve had this DJ before,” committee member Taylor Rapaport said. “It took us months last year to find him. Our DJ says he’s really here for the kids, but if we get too ‘grindy,’ he’ll put on a slow song.”
Contact Loren May at email@example.com
Click here to the Prom Cost Breakdown in PDF format.
+ BY THE NUMBERS
200 — number of songs SHS will submit to its DJ
60 — number of SHS tables
12 — number of RHS chaperones
6 — number of boys and girls on BHS prom court
5 — number of years SHS has alternated its “Under the Sea” theme
+ FAST FACT
1,300 — Number of prom tickets on sale at Booker, Riverview and Sarasota high schools.