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Prom season sets in

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INVESTING IN MEMORIES: A tuxedo inside All About T’s, across from Five Points Mall. Families can expect to spend up to $200 on their high school student’s suit or dress for prom.
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A RITE OF PASSAGE: Senior Amaris Thornton puts on his tuxedo, with the help of store employee Misty Ringo, at All About T’s in preparation for the Mississinewa High School prom.

BY Emily Rachelle Russell - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com

With April showers and above-freezing temperatures, spring has also brought prom season to Grant County.

“The school has all kinds of activities, sports and music and things, but there’s few times the kids can dress up and go and have fun together,” said Madison-Grant High School teacher Pam Richards. “They can go out and dance and just be in a different realm. … It’s a rite of passage, the prom.”

The season kicked off with Oak Hill High School’s prom on April 6 at the Honeywell Center in Wabash. The “evening under the stars” event had 247 students in attendance. Next will be Mississinewa High School Saturday.

On April 27, Marion High School will host “an enchanting evening” at 8 p.m. to midnight with an anticipated 300 students.

In years past, the DJ for MHS prom has set up song requests for a week or two before prom to put together the night’s playlist. Teacher Tashema Davis expects that will continue again this year.

Madison-Grant High School will have “gateway to the garden” prom at the Bliss Barn in Fairmount on May 4, with a red carpet at 7 p.m., prom at 7:30 to 11 p.m. and an after-prom party at the school from midnight to 3 a.m. Around 200 students are anticipated, according to Richards.

The red carpet is a unique feature no longer included at many high school proms today, Richards explained. At Madison-Grant, the red carpet offers parents and grandparents a chance to have a piece of the fun and see the kids dressed up and entering the party.

Eastbrook High School will close this year’s local prom season with a Hollywood-themed event at the Roseburg Event Center from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Staff expect at least 200 students to come. The school also has a post-prom trip to a bowling alley planned for 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

This year’s prom style includes paisley suits and the Michael Kors Legacy ultra slim tuxedo, according to Tom Roop, owner of All About T’s formal menswear store.

Girls are favoring two piece dresses with separate tops and skirts, shared Penny Fritsch, sister to the owner of Boutique 125. Glittery gowns and form-fitting cuts are also very popular.

“I believe (the prom) is a girl’s dreams of dressing up and feeling special for that one special night,” Fritsch said. “(It) makes them feel like princesses.”

Roop has also seen several girls choosing suits this year. Several female partners are attending proms together with one girl in a suit and the other in a dress.

The cost of attending prom can very. Rental suits at All About T’s usually come in under $200, while dresses at Boutique 125 range from $50 to $200. Tickets for MHS prom are $35 for individuals or $55 for couples.

However, schools do prioritize giving students the chance to experience this cultural rite of passage.

“I don’t like to put a lot of emphasis on the expense of it,” Richards said. “If kids can’t afford it, we make sure they have money to go.”

As Eastbrook High School prom committee member Sharon Buckler said, prom is a big part of each student’s high school experience. The night should be a highlight to remember.

Richards pointed out that many high school seniors won’t see each other again after graduation. Prom is their chance to have fun together before saying their goodbyes.

“Everybody has their high school prom,” said Oak Hill High School staff member Anita Williams. “(It’s) something that’s part of going through high school.”