Skip to main content
Out-of-Door Academy juniors and seniors celebrate at 2012’s prom
at The Founders Club. Courtesy photo.
Sarasota Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013 4 years ago



Follow the East County and Sarasota Observers through May 18 for prom content and coverage, including feature stories, schedules, photos, contests and more.

SMA upperclassmen prepare for a night out of uniform
Every day, Sarasota Military Academy cadets put on their uniforms to attend school, where their days are regimented. Almost all high school students look forward to prom, but for these cadets, the break in routine and opportunity to trade out uniforms for dresses and tuxedos can have an added significance. — Nick Friedman

Madison Lazo — Age: 18
What are you most looking forward to about prom?
I’m looking forward to hanging out with all my other classmates and friends.

Are you going with a date or with a group of friends?
I’m going to go with a big group of about 10 of my friends. That’s what I did last year, and it was a lot of fun.

How does it feel to have a night out of uniform and relax?
You get to show off your sense of style and how you dress and do your hair, instead of everyone just seeing you in the same uniform every day.

What’s your favorite part of the night?
Last year, I had a lot of fun dancing, and we really liked the photo booth. There were a lot of fun props.

Do you have any plans before prom?
We like to take pictures beforehand at Marina Jack or at the Van Wezel.

Mac Charalambous — Age: 17
What are you most looking forward to about prom?
I’m excited to dance and hang out with my friends.

Are you taking a date or going with a group?
I’m taking my girlfriend, so I’m excited about that. We’ve been dating for about 11 months, so it
will be close to our one-year anniversary.

Why do you think prom is different at a military academy?
In some respects, I do think it’s a little different. There is a little more order to it, but we’re there to have fun and let loose. There’s no uniforms or strict guidelines, and it’s a night to have fun.

How does it feel to have a night out of uniform and relax?
I like wearing a tux; it’s fun for me. It’s a touch of class.

“A lot of the dresses I saw when I was looking this year had a lot of beading and cut-outs on the legs.”
— Madison Lazo

“Dance music is big. There’s a lot of crossover between hip-hop and dubstep. Remixes are really popular right now, so you’ll hear songs that you wouldn’t normally dance to with extra bass or drops.” — Mac Charalambous

ODA Prom Night event becomes the place to be

The Out-of-Door Academy combines its prom and after-prom event into one memorable night.

LAKEWOOD RANCH — The Out-of-Door Academy senior Zach Lang isn’t one for wearing a tuxedo, or anything formal, really.

But a post-prom event the school hosts makes the evening worth donning a bowtie, vest and shiny shoes.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Lang says. “(For) some people, the after-prom (event) drives them to go to prom. That was me last year.”

Juniors and seniors at ODA will put on their formalwear April 27, as the school hosts its 2013 masquerade-themed prom at The Lake Club, in Lakewood Ranch.

The school’s post-prom event that Lang is so fond of has become part of the culture of ODA, as well. Last year, 97% of students who attended the dance also attended the after-party, said Tim Brewer, ODA’s director of student activities. When the event started in 2006, about 20% of prom-goers attended.

“I hear some kids talking about the after-party and the hypnotist (act there) before they talk about the dance,” Brewer said. “(Students) are going to see a great show and have a couple extra hours of fun. (The event) is two-fold — it keeps the night going to create more memories for our students, and (parents know their children are in a safe environment).”

ODA is shifting away from separating its prom and after-prom events, instead calling the whole evening “Prom Night.”

Limousines that ODA’s Parent Association sponsor will transport students from The Lake Club to the school’s Uihlein campus in Lakewood Ranch.

Once there, the party begins in the Petrik Thunderdome.

“Everyone changes into T-shirts and shorts,” Lang said. “There’s always a hypnotist. I enjoy watching people do stupid stuff. And there’s free food — who doesn’t like free food?”

Other activities include a prize wheel, a photo booth, an inflatable obstacle course, basketball shoot-outs, beanbag tosses and more.

At 1 a.m., the party moves to the Art Centers’ Black Box Theatre for the headline entertainment, a professional hypnotist who will hypnotize about 20 students.

The one-hour comedy/hypnotism show is a yearly ritual at ODA.

Brewer said the school uses a different hypnotist each year, so students never see the same act twice.
The final portion of the evening includes a prize raffle that sends students home with anything from Beats By Dr. Dre headphones to concert tickets or a new flat-screen TV.

Limousines will transport students to their respective homes at around 2:30 a.m.

A committee of juniors — and Brewer — plan ODA’s prom, as a gift to senior students. The school’s Student Council funds the event.

— Josh Siegel and Pam Eubanks 


“When I went prom-dress shopping, I saw a lot more simple dresses, without all the jewels. I think it’s more sophisticated having less (jewels).”
— Gabby Alvarez, ODA

“I think dresses are a personal thing. Shorter dresses
are more Floridian fun. Longer dresses are more elegant.”
— Lauren Stewart, ODA

“I think the bowtie is back.”
— Zach Lang

The Best promposal?
“Someone put white plastic cups in the fence to spell out the girl’s name and then ‘prom?’”
— Ellie Kimmell, ODA

“One of my friends at a different school — he lit a bunch of candles in the road that spelled out ‘prom?’ That’s one of the only ones I’ve heard.”
— Zach Lang, ODA

Sarasota Proms
Saturday, May 4
Riverview High School Prom
Time and location: 7 to 11 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota
Theme: A Victorian Masquerade
Cost: $70
Info: Includes hors d’oeuvres, three-course dinner and late-night ice cream sundae bar. During the meal, a live string quartet will serenade the students. Each student will also be given a masquerade mask and locally made candy as a party favor. For more info, contact Joshua Mocherman at [email protected].

Sarasota Christian junior-senior Banquet
Time and location:
7 to 9 p.m. in school gymnasium, 5415 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota
Theme: Shhh ... it’s a secret
Cost: $30 for juniors; seniors are free — seniors have to pay for non-senior dates
Info: Call the front office at 371-6481.

Saturday, May 11
Sarasota Military Academy Prom
Time and location:
7 to 11 p.m. at Michael’s On East, 1212 E. Ave, Sarasota
Theme: A Touch of Class
Cost: $50 up to the week of event; $60 the week of prom; includes dinner
Info: Capt. Robin Livingston at 926-1700

Sarasota High School Prom
Time and location: 7 to 11:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota
Theme: Grecian Night
Cost: $75 cash only
Info: Call 955-0181

Suncoast Polytechnical High School Prom
Time and location: 7 to 11 p.m. at Laurel Oak Country Club, 2700 Gary Player Blvd., Sarasota
Theme: Never Say Goodbye
Cost: $60 if purchased before April 26; $75 after
Info: This event is only for seniors. For more information, call Pat Boughman, 921-3981.

Saturday, May 18
Booker High School Prom
Time and location: 8 to midnight at Michael’s On East, 1212 E. Ave., Sarasota
Theme: A Lucky Heart’s Ball
Cost: $40 to $65, depending on how long students wait to purchase tickets
Info: Ashley Harris. [email protected]

Pineview Cobalt
Time and location: 7 to 11 p.m. at Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail,
Theme: Bella Sera: A beautiful evening in Italia
Cost: Juniors $85; seniors free
Info: 486-2001

East County Proms
Saturday, April 27
The-Out-of-Door Academy Prom
Time and location: 8 to 11 p.m. at The Lake Club, 8307 Lake Club Blvd., Sarasota
Theme: Behind the Mask
Cost: $50
Info: Masquerade-themed prom includes music, ice cream, shuffleboard, poker and other festivities. The post-prom event, featuring a hypnotist, obstacle course and more, will be held from 11 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. at ODA’s Lakewood Ranch campus.

Cardinal Mooney Prom
Time and location: 7:30 p.m. at the Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch
Theme: Old School Vegas
Cost: $70
Info: For questions, contact [email protected].

Wednesday, May 3
Lakewood Ranch High School Prom
Time and location: 8 to midnight at the Sarasota Hyatt, 1000 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota
Theme: Unmask the Night
Cost: $60 for seniors; $70 for juniors
Info: Tickets must be pre-purchased by April 26.

Saturday, May 11
Braden River High School Prom
Time and location: 7 to 11 p.m. at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 First Ave. W., Bradenton
Theme: Once Upon a Time
Cost: $40 for seniors; $50 for others
Info: Dress code is posted on the school’s website.


Related Stories