April 16, 2007

It's a Mardi Gras celebration

Some have to work before they can play at this year’s junior/senior prom

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

It’s a Mardi Gras celebration for this year’s Dassel-Cokato juniors and seniors prom, set for Saturday, May 19.

The junior class were able to vote on three possible themes for this year’s prom. Choices were “Midnight in Paris,” “Arabian Nights,” and “Mardi Gras.” The majority ruled, and “Mardi Gras” is this year’s theme.

The theme will incorporate Parisian masquerades, jazz music, and the French Quarter of New Orleans, according to Danita Piepenburg, prom committee advisor.

“Those who wanted Paris, got it,” she said.

The prom’s grand march audience can expect purple, green, gold, and a splash of pink to be the color scheme for the Mardi Gras celebration.

Following the grand march, the prom-goers will hop on a bus to Stillwater to spend the evening on the St. Croix River Boat for dinner and a dance.

The buses will head for home around 11:30 p.m. and arrive back at the high school for the After Prom festivities.

After Prom will include many fun games and activities including Bingo, a version of Guitar Hero, a money machine and old fashioned carnival games such as a relay race. There will also be a KCLD DJ that will put on a Napoleon Dynamite dance-off to wake up the attendees earlier in the morning.

The students will be able to play games to earn fake money to use toward purchasing donated prizes, according to Clare Bjork, after prom committee member.

Behind the scenes

There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into prom, not only for the prom goers, but for the behind-the-scenes workers as well.

Committees are formed specifically for this one special night. There is the prom committee which is made up of junior class volunteers who create the prom’s theme and where dinner and the dance will be.

This committee is also in charge of decorating the gym for prom. This year, the juniors have a lot planned, but are keeping it a secret to surprise the community, according to Piepenburg.

The group of 12 meet weekly to prepare the decorations and 400 invitations that need to go out. Recently, they all got together to make paper mache balloons. They will begin decorating the gym Friday before prom.

“This is the most ambitious group we’ve had so far,” Piepenburg said.

“They have also been consistent with starting and completing projects,” she said.

Every other year, the dinner and dance is booked on a boat. This year, it was scheduled for the Paddleford in St. Paul, but at the last minute, the boat was sold and the prom committee scrambled to book another venue, according to Piepenburg. Most venues need to be booked a year in advance, she said.

Then, there is the After Prom committee, which takes care of the entertainment and decor for when the students return from Stillwater.

This takes a considerable amount of time and effort with six subcommittees working together to arrange the event.

The main purpose of the After Prom is to allow students a drug and alcohol free event after the prom itself, according to co-chair Brenda Kotila.

The sub committees include registration, fundraising, games, decorating, and prize committees.

“We are always scrounging for volunteers,” she said. “We can never have too many helpers.”

The event is not easily done and takes a lot of time and effort.

“We really appreciate all the time and efforts that is given for this,” Kotila said.

Donations are always needed for the After Prom. The donations come from parents, prom registration fees, and businesses.

“We run a very tight budget and spend every penny we are given,” Kotila said.

She asks that if anyone sees this as a worthy cause, to send a donation to Kerry Nelson at 649 County Road 3 SW Cokato, MN 55321.

The prom plan

Prom begins at 5 p.m., Saturday May 19 with the grand march in the west gym. Doors open at 4 p.m. The public is welcome, with a $2 charge for adults, but free for students and children.

The buses for the prom attendees will be leaving from the high school between 6:20 and 6:30 p.m. for Stillwater and will leave for the for After Prom between 11:15 to 11:30 p.m.

The buses will arrive at the school around 1 a.m. where the students will play games and enjoy refreshments and prizes throughout the night.

Students are to remain in the school until 5 a.m., when they are free to leave, unless otherwise given parental permission.

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