Students attend off campus prom for the first time in years for the Moonlight Garden Gala

Jake Strelitz
Students dance to the music and talents of DJ JMC at Brazos Hall April 27. They danced as they celebrated the end of the year’s festivities, with this being the first off-campus prom in years.

Juniors and seniors came together for the annual prom Saturday, April 27, but this year, with a bit of a twist. In previous years, the prom dance was held on campus in the Chap Court, however this year, administration listened to students’ requests and took the dance off campus. The Moonlight Garden Gala was held at Brazos Hall at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. 

The Student Council planned the off-campus extravaganza. Supervisor of student council Caleb Phillips helped the members plan the event this year. 

When we sat down in August to start talking about Prom, we immediately knew that we wanted it to be off campus, if possible,” Phillips said. “We were confident that it would have a huge impact on attendance. In past years, on-campus proms have been sparsely attended, and we figured it was because many students would rather not come to a formal dance in the commons.” 

The dance featured a downstairs and upstairs event. Downstairs was the main dance floor with tables all around, and the upstairs featured games like Big Jenga and cornhole, completed with a raffle for a pair of new Sony Headphones and other prizes. Seniors and juniors flooded the floors and danced to DJ JMC’s set. 

Junior executive board member Keith Loboprabhu had a large role in planning and coordinating the prom. 

The planning process was unique compared to our proms of previous years because we condensed duties instead of having all of Student Council split into subcommittees,” Loboprabhu said. “Because of this consolidation, we had a strong, but small core planning team composed of Nasser, Brian, and myself. This was possible largely because we outsourced duties that we typically took on for other Homecomings and Proms. For example, we outsourced almost all decorating to a professional event planner that allowed the venue to look top tier while freeing us up to further improve Prom, and we hired a DJ to play great music.”

With the help of other STUCO officers, senior Nasser Romman and grade Brian Shim, Loboprabhu and the others pulled their weight at this year’s prom. The officers wanted to add incentive to buy tickets and attend the event, so they added raffles and fun games to the mix, using the extra ticket money to buy the prizes.

On the day before Prom, Nasser, Brian, and I went to Walmart during school to purchase our prizes—a Macbook, Sony XM4 headphones, an Apple Watch, a drone, a mini-fridge, a TV, a JBL speaker, and six Stanley and Yeti water bottles which cost about $2,000,” Loboprabhu said. 

The selling process was very successful and STUCO sold lots of tickets throughout two rounds of sales. 

By the end of the first two week ticket selling period, we sold roughly 800 tickets for $21,000 in sales,” Loboprabhu said. “Because we had already long surpassed our goal, we had a huge surplus that we spent on getting catering and renting more furniture for the rooftop deck. By the end of the second two week ticket selling period, we sold 300 more tickets for more than 1100 tickets total and $30,000+ in sales.” 

Junior Jack Casteel attended the prom and enjoyed the season’s festivities and the dance itself. 

“It was like the best party,” Casteel said. “Seeing all my best friends in one place and we had a blast. I had so much fun that I would totally go again, no doubt about it!” 

Romman, the Student Body president this year, had been wishing for an off-campus prom for quite some time, hoping it would come true once in his time in high school.  

Brian and I have been talking about moving prom off-campus since our freshman year when we first volunteered at the school dance,” Romman said. In the movies and at other schools prom is always at this nice venue that adds to what makes it a special day for juniors and seniors. Prom just didn’t feel right at the school and the ticket sales from the past definitely reflected that, so it was definitely one of our biggest goals as Student Body Prez and VP, and we’re glad that it all worked out.” 

Prom was quite the success this year, being off campus. More students than ever came to the prom this year. A prom like this seems to be the way to go for upcoming years and the Student Council plans to continue the event elsewhere. 

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