Independent Thoughts: Changes on tap for HHS prom

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It’s prom season, and there are a couple of changes to the annual event for Hopkinton High School juniors (and some invited guests from other classes). On Friday, May 10, you’ll no longer see limousines around town filled with prom-goers. That’s because the high school has reserved — and paid for, using a grant from the state — coach buses to transport the students to and from Lakeview Pavilion in Foxboro, and the school has made the buses mandatory for all attendees.

The grand march, when the well-dressed students walk into the HHS athletic center as family and friends watch and take pictures, starts at 4:30 p.m. As usual, it will be broadcast on HCAM.

The post-prom party, hosted by the junior class parents as a safe, substance-free, chaperoned event, runs from 11:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. at the high school. In past years the event ended around 5 a.m., but after getting student and parent feedback, organizers switched to an earlier end time in hopes of getting a bigger turnout.

“There been kind of a steady decline in numbers over the past couple of years,” explained Val McGuire, who co chairs the post-prom party along with Maureen Rancatore. “From what we understood, much of it was because the kids were just so tired. There are AP exams oftentimes the day of prom, so the kids are going straight through from 6 a.m. until if they went to the post-prom 5 a.m. the next morning, and they’re toast. And some of them have sports and other activities. With their involvement in so many other things, they’re tired.”

Added McGuire: “I think at one point at its height there was probably over 300 students who would attend post-prom, and last year I think it was about 170 who did. So it’s gone down over the years. But I think there’s definitely a place for it, a role for it. Maureen and I were thinking, maybe the kids just don’t want it. So we asked the students of prom committee and they were overwhelming, ‘No, we want it.’ … So that’s when we came up with the survey this fall and said, OK, you guys want it, do you want to end it early? And when the survey came back, an overwhelming amount said, ‘Yes, we prefer it to end early.’”

Each year the parents come up with a theme for the post-prom party, but that’s a closely guarded secret. Last year’s theme, which got rave reviews, was Hollywood/red carpet.

Thanks in part to a contribution from Hopkinton Youth and Family Services, the post-prom event will have raffle prizes including Apple Watches, AirPods and Beats by Dre wireless headphones. Hopkinton Organizing for Prevention (HOP) and the Marathon Fund provided funding for the entertainment — a DJ, an inflatable obstacle course, an inflatable mechanical bull ride, a hypnotist, a caricaturist and more. More than 60 local companies/restaurants also donated money, food or supplies.

Said McGuire: “We couldn’t provide this event without the help of many, many parents and the community’s support.”

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