Ten Years of Getting It Right
Every year high school students in their junior and senior years look forward with great anticipation to the high school prom. Many teachers and parents, on the other hand, are anxious, worried, and concerned that the students may make poor decisions on this evening that will affect them the rest of their lives. But once again, Transylvania County Deputy and SRO Greg Stroup and teacher Julie Queen planned and sponsored the tenth annual after-Prom Lock-in held at Brevard College to give students a positive alternative.
This year's event, open to students in grades 10-12 and invited freshmen was attended by over 166 students and 44 chaperones. Junior Maddy Cauble says, “I’m glad we have adults that care enough about us staying safe they give us a place to have fun after prom.” Junior Constance Orr agrees and adds, “You don’t have to get drunk or party to have fun. Safe and sober is the best way to be.” RHS retiree Sue Fox says, “This is a model program for all the schools in the area. More should offer opportunities like this to their students.”
Principal BrianWeaver is adamant the work is worth it. “The student involvement is tremendous and I think the staff enjoys the night as much as the students. It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to interact with so many young people in a positive environment.” Students agree and laugh at the chaperons trying to keep up with teenagers half their age, while the adults find it amusing to watch the grumpy teens struggling to stay awake a 4am. Still, everyone reminisces Monday morning and suffers from sleep-deprivation together.
Students ate eight pounds of candy, 40 Domino’s pizzas, 200 biscuits from McDonald’s, and drank 26 cases of drinks. They played basketball, dodgeball, ping-pong, pool and watched four movies. Everyone talked and talked and talked. Amazingly enough, a few even managed to sleep on the cold, concrete floor and wooden bleachers.
The numerous door prizes are always a fun treat of the evening. First, everyone received a t-shirt designed for the event when they checked in. They then collected water bottles, frisbees, key chains, pens and pencils, and lanyards, given away courtesy of the U.S. Army, Blue Ridge Community College, and ARP-Phoenix. Next, everyone also received one of numerous other door prizes. Senior Christina Rice, who helped solicit items from area businesses, says that she was really surprised by how supportive the community was. “They were calling to ask why we had not come collected from them yet!”
Additionally, this year to celebrate the tenth anniversary, there were some even bigger prizes. Over $3000 worth of electronics were given to the students, including three laptops, a PS3 and an Xbox Kinect. “People ask how we can afford to put this event on, especially given current budget talks,” comments Queen. “All money and doorprizes come from the community members and businesses. We totally rely on their generosity and support!” Queen estimates that over $7900 was donated to make the evening a success.
The lock-in would not be possible without the overwhelming support of Sheriff David Mahoney, Principal Brian Weaver, and all of the RHS staff. Additionally, the night could not have been possible without the large monetary donations of Carolina Mountain Credit Union, Randy Driver, Ecusta Credit Union, Farm Bureau Insurance, French Broad Trailer Park, Meredith Baldridge State Farm Insurance, M-B Industries, Petit’s Paint and Body, Rocky Boots, Toxaway Grading, the U.S. Army, the Transylvania Youth Association, United Way, and Wal-Mart.
Stroup stresses the long hours and hard work. “This is a year-long endeavor to plan and secure donations. But with teen tragedies happening all around us, if we can influence one student to think twice before making a bad decision then we've met our goal.”