Welcome to a night in Venice, Stanbridge Academy’s Prom 2016.
“This year’s prom was the best!” exclaimed one junior. “I loved dressing up and dancing with all my friends.”
For two days, Stanbridge Academy parents and parents of alumni worked to convert Hayden Hall into an Italian piazza.
“I was very honored to be asked to help decorate the prom this year,” said Emily Bentley, whose daughter graduated from Stanbridge in 2013 and has been decorating Stanbridge’s proms for the past five years. “Originally, Gina LaBlanc was taking the lead and had started collecting many decorations. I incorporated all of Gina's decorations and have also added my own. It is my hope that I can create an atmosphere that is in line with Gina's vision and is a bit of a tribute to Kyle.”
In addition to a venetian flag hoisted in front of the school and floor to ceiling windows with views of the Laguna Veneta and St. Mark’s Clocktower, a quiet frame with a photo of Kyle, a Stanbridge senior who died earlier this year, adorned a place of honor on the grand piano.
“Hayden Hall was transformed,” said another junior. “I loved all the decorations, especially the tables with the gondolier hats.”
The theme was also expressed in the menu, which was chosen and implemented by Jackie Donaho, the parent of a graduating senior and proprietor of Destination Taste.
“I chose balsamic grilled chicken, because it has amazing flavor and is not too saucy,” said Jackie. “My picky kids love it, so I figured the kids at Stanbridge would too.”
The meal rounded out with Caesar salad, sides of steamed asparagus and rice pilaf, and Italian classics tiramisu and cannolis for dessert.
“The food was really good this year, especially the chicken,” said one sophomore. ”It was really tender and flavorful.”
Meals were served by teacher chaperones bedecked in striped shirts and straw gondolier hats.
“Chaperoning prom gives me an opportunity to see our students all dressed-up, and witness their excitement, especially those who have dates,” said Junior High Teacher Calvin Yuen, who volunteered for chaperone duty. “I chaperoned prom last year also. Everyone has fun, including the chaperones.”
After dinner, students adjourned to the U while the room was flipped for dancing.
“The best part of our high school dances is that they are gatherings of peers, gatherings where everyone participates the way in which they are most comfortable,” said Anna Zara, a senior parent and Prom Committee Chair. “No one is judged for how they dance.”
“I had a great time at prom,” said one freshman. “I already have it on the calendar for next year!”