The Masterminds Behind Trumbull High School Post Prom

Hannah Auten ‘19
EE Contributor

Elaborate facade of the 2017 THS Post Prom.

Annually since 1988, with a goal to provide students with a safe environment to continue enjoying prom night, the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) plans, fundraises for, and executes a beloved tradition: post prom. However, with all the excitement of the party, many fail to realize is exactly how much time and energy people dedicate to the event.

“A lot people don’t realize how big of an event post prom is. The PTSA works hard to ensure everything runs smoothly,” said Britley Learnard, PTSA student vice president and post prom volunteer of two years. “To some, it may seem like everything was easily prepared and that it only took a few weeks to plan, but once the post prom for one year is over, it’s onto planning the next one shortly after.”

According to Christine Mckinney, former president of the PTSA and post prom volunteer of four years, around 550 students attend the event between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM. That may seem long in itself, but for some volunteers, the ordeal is many more hours. Setting up at 2:30 PM, they stay until 3 AM, only to come back again at 8 AM to clean up. That is just the day of the event; the preparation starts long before that.
One of the tasks that the PTSA is fundraising for the event, which costs roughly $20,000. The PTSA does so through powderpuff football, senior t-shirt sales, after-school snacks, spirit wear sales, the practice SAT and practice ACT (through an agreement with Alpha Prep), the fashion show, and other fundraisers. Through the fundraising and donations, the PTSA almost breaks even, Mckinney said.

There are six to nine meetings, the first in January and the last in mid to late May, attended by the core people involved in planning the event; each meeting is between one to two hours. There are additional meetings for each planning subcommittee. Mckinney estimated that she dedicates approximately 60 hours to the event each year.

There are around 20 core and 100 additional volunteers. There are many subcommittees including; facade, games and activities, photo booth, dessert table, coffee bar, candy bar, hot food, Bopper’s Entertainment (the company that supplies many of the activities), publicity, check-in/registration, luminaries, memory hallway, the signing wall, cafeteria table and stage decorations, donation letters, and raffle prizes.

Each committee has its own challenges but those involving decorations and raffle prizes are the most difficult.

“Transforming Hillcrest Middle School to become close to unrecognizable in the span of 8 hours is a challenge within itself, but carrying the theme throughout the entire post prom event is a huge challenge,” said Mckinney. “From the facade outside to the check-in tables and throughout all the rooms insides, the volunteers make sure that the theme is cohesive throughout.”

Organizing the raffle prizes is difficult as well. There is a budget that the committee uses to purchase items including mini-fridges, laptops, and dorm microwaves, totaling thousands of dollars worth of prizes. They also seek out donations for the community and various vendors to offer a wide variety of selection. Items are raffled off throughout the night, but the best items are saved for last to encourage students to stay the duration of the event.

Although it is a lot of work creating the final product, “seeing the kids faces when they walk in makes it all worth it,” said Mckinney.

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