Prom is oftentimes one of the highlights during the school year for students, and as one looks back at this year's prom celebrations in the area, it appears that prom is still one of the best parts of spring. Where else could a person find so many students dressed to the nines for a single event, smiling and enjoying themselves the entire time?
For some, getting asked to prom by that special someone tops the list. Others tend to pair up as friends to enjoy the evening. For the girls, most of the time-consuming, yet fun activities occur before prom even starts, including dress shopping, buying matching shoes, ordering flowers, getting manicures and pedicures and then doing hair and makeup to perfection shortly before taking countless photos.
For the guys, making sure their tux, vest and tie match their date's dress is most likely a top priority. Getting fitted for a tux, washing up the car or truck, getting a haircut and shaving likely rank high as well for the guys. Then, they just have to be a proper gentleman and enjoy the evening. No matter what, prom is usually a night of making memories.
Clad in a sporty camouflage tux, Justin Varpness, right, and Mallory Meyer rocked the Lakeview grand march.
Like most girls, Dawson-Boyd sophomore Kylie Schuelke enjoyed the process of selecting the perfect dress for prom.
"I liked going dress shopping with my friends," she said. "It was so fun trying on all the dresses. I chose one that was gold and sparkly. Right when I tried it on, I knew it was the right one. I just kept smiling because I knew for sure."
Schuelke actually attended two separate proms this year, one for Dawson-Boyd's prom and one for Lac qui Parle Valley's prom, to which she wore a silver dress.
"It was so much fun," she said. "Both were different from each other, and each had their own fun thing."
Dawson-Boyd had a "Midwest Paradise" theme this year, which Schuelke likened to "Duck Dynasty," a reality show featuring a big, bearded, camo-clad Louisiana bayou family that operates a thriving duck call business. The decorations included duck decoys, targets, a deer stand and ballons in camouflage colors.
"Both our seniors and our juniors picked the theme and helped decorate," Schuelke said. "It kind of looked like 'Duck Dynasty' with all the four-wheelers, snowmobiles, basically anything outdoors. It was really different, but it fit our senior class really good."
Long before the evening started, Schuelke gathered with a number of friends to get ready for prom.
"We kind of all got ready together and then took pictures at somebody's house," Schuelke said. "It was cool that we all had different-colored dresses. None of them looked the same."
Following tradition, the Dawson-Boyd prom attendees had one grand march at the nursing home before heading back to the school for a second grand march.
"We did a drive up this year at the nursing home, which was a nice addition," Schuelke said. "Guys escorted us in, and somebody took our car. We came in and got our pictures taken. It was really nice because then people can see your dress up close and then under the lights, too."
Afterward, the students sat down to a catered meal, followed by a dance.
"The seniors usually make a video that people watch while they eat," Schuelke said. "Nathaniel Huot went around before prom and made a video of people doing funny things."
Schuelke said the dance took place in the gym amidst all of the props and decorations.
"We were dancing next to the four-wheeler, which was muddy," she said. "They went mudding with them before prom."
Schuelke said she also had a blast a week later at the LQPV prom, which had a "New York Lights" theme. After a grand march at the school, prom attendees then went to the blind school in Gary, S.D., for a dinner, dance and daybreak party. But the after-prom activities in Dawson topped the list for Schuelke.
"My favorite part was the hypnotist and games," she said. "They had laser tag, Wii games and blow-up obstacle courses. It was a lot of fun."
Schuelke had the unique experience of being hypnotized, which she had mixed feelings about.
"It was really weird at first," she said. "You do remember it. People laughed at me, and I started crying during part of it. It was really funny, and I kind of remember it, but people would also tell me what happened. It was probably the best part of prom, I thought."
Tracy Area High School prom attendees enjoyed a "Masquerade Ball" theme, which featured a fabulous chandelier and continuously spraying fountain as part of its simple, yet elegant decor.
"I loved the theme," Tracy Area junior Kasey Hoek said. "I loved the fountain. That was the best part. The chandelier was pretty cool, too. We (juniors) all had fun decorating. Everyone got masks, too, while we ate."
Hoek and Alyson Birt wore bright orange dresses next to their dates, Asa Nelson and James Lessman, who chose to break from the traditional black, white or gray tux and sported flashy camouflage tux jackets.
"I thought Asa's tux was cool," Hoek said. "We planned it together. I just really like camouflage and orange."
Before putting the ensemble together, Hoek had to find the right dress, which took some time to do.
"I liked the color and the bling on it," she said. "I usually hate it, but it was fun dress shopping, I had to try on about 30 to find the one I wanted."
For Hoek, the most fun part of prom was the dance.
"It was fun," she said. "I liked it. I think the lighting was really cool, and they played good songs."
Hoek and her friends also enjoyed playing black light volleyball at the after-prom party at the school.
"It was like a tournament," Hoek said. "They put neon paper on the ball so you could see it. It was cool. We got third, I think."
At Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, an "Arabian Nights" theme was selected this year, while Minneota went "A Little Bit Country." Yellow Medicine East students had a "Moments Like These" prom theme, with decor in shades of blue and green to replicate a walk in the park.
At Lakeview, "A Starry Night" theme and props, such as an Eiffel Tower and rolled-out red carpet, were a hit. After driving up and handing over their vehicle to members of the fire department, who were on valet parking duty for the night, couples were introduced outside the school. A little while later, couples were introduced again inside the school for the grand march.
Nearly 130 couples and 20 individuals attended the Marshall High School prom, where the theme was "Endless Summer." Decorations portraying a tropical paradise included a tiki bar and a hammerhead shark that was borrowed from the Wooden Nickel.
Canby prom-goers had a unique theme of "Fire and Ice," which featured light up icicles and other icy decor on one-half of the gym, while red and orange flames took over the other half. Murray County Central students attended prom amidst fluttering butterflies for an "Enchanted Evening" theme.
"Paris by Moonlight" was the theme at the Lincoln HI prom, which included an Eiffel Tower for the couples to walk under and lamp posts to guide the way for the grand march, along with small tables with wine glasses, French bread and candles to set the mood. Zebra prints and fuchsia decorations took center stage in Wabasso's "Tangled in the Stars" prom theme.
As it has in the past, Westbrook-Walnut Grove continued its tradition of not having a prom. Rather, the senior class took a trip to the New York and Washington, D.C. areas during Easter break.