Sunday, April 23, 2017

Last Dance

April 15, 2017: Teacher Chaperons at BRHS Junior-Senior Prom
From left: Lori (English), Tasha (social studies), Sherri (math), Mary (English),
Brandi (P.E. & freshman university), and Kay (culinary arts).

Last weekend I enjoyed another "last" on the countdown to retirement: My final opportunity to chaperon Prom. While I don't mind the chaperoning duties associated with being a high school teacher, I wouldn't say it's high on my list of favorites. However, I happily volunteer to chaperon Prom every year. It's such a big deal for the kids, and I love seeing the creative Prom decorations and the students so formally dressed and coiffed that I barely recognize them.

Prom came at the end of a very busy Saturday. My day began with doing bills for the second half of April, along with preparing Mark's and my tax forms to be mailed off. Next came two hours of the shopping I'd put off all week, including picking up everything we needed for Easter dinner the following day, all while battling the other hordes of last-minute Easter shoppers in the Walmart aisles, which seem to shrink in width every holiday.

Sarah and her violin in concert on Saturday afternoon.

From 3:00 to 5:00, Mark, Chris, and I went to enjoy Sarah's concert of the White Mountain Symphony Orchestra. Their performance was amazing, as always.

I can't recall the exact Prom theme. Something like "Never forget" or "Always remember."
I have no idea what it was they were supposed to always remember or never forget.
However, the decor was sort of Moroccan, as in "Welcome to the Kasbah."

After the concert, I hurried home to grab a bite of dinner, refresh my makeup, and spend way too much time wrestling with the pantyhose I haven't bothered to wear for a very long time. I confess that I shed some tears (requiring some makeup repair) and said some words I don't allow my students to say, as the hose twisted this way and that, strangling my knees and thighs. Eventually, I got them smoothed out enough to provide some level of comfort, and at 7:15 I was on my way to the Convention Center at Hon-dah Casino on the nearby Apache Reservation, where Prom was held.

Tables await the arrival of Prom dancers needing to rest their weary feet.

Every year, the first thing I do is take pictures of the decorations before the room is filled with all those excited young bodies. Then I check on my assignment, which has always been to monitor the kids in the main Prom area: the dance floor, the tables, the refreshments area, and so on.

Then, while we wait for the kids to make their way through the line and into the ballroom, after having their tickets checked and apparel choices approved, I visit with the other chaperons and admire the beautiful suits and tuxedos and Prom gowns as the students enter.

The photographer had her set all ready for the Prom attendees.

By the final hour of the three-hour Prom (8-11 p.m.), after the crowning of the Prom royalty and other traditional events and music, I'm starting to feel ready to go home. It was especially true this year, knowing the next morning would be Easter and I'd have lots to do before the family gathered for dinner. At least this year I had no Easter baskets to prepare, now that I have an empty nest!

These two girls were first in the door, both from my English classes.
The one on the right graduates next month. And so do I!

I left the Prom feeling a mixture of excitement and nostalgia. Excited to move on to the next phase of my life, and nostalgic about the things I'll miss when they're over. As I left, I walked past our high school principal and said goodnight. He thanked me for chaperoning, and I grinned and said, "Last one!" He pretended to scowl (he asks me every couple of weeks if I won't change my mind about retiring; it seems that teachers who are certified in both special education and secondary English aren't that plentiful) and asked, "Are you sure you don't want to come back for next year's Prom?" I paused and said, "Well...I might if someone calls and invites me..." Now it was his turn to grin. "I'll remember that," he said.

So now we'll wait and see...

Dancers begin trickling out onto the dance floor while the night is still young.

Halfway through the night, the room is packed and growing quite warm.

The refreshments area was another popular place.

Beautiful dresses everywhere.

A little taste of loud Prom music and young people in motion.

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