After-Prom Decorations Don't Die With Dance
Generations of school dance committees have spent hours and hours conceiving and creating fabulous decorations to create the perfect ambience at their students’ prom or spring fling, only to see them all torn down and discarded once the fun is over.
This year, a group of parents has found a way to embrace the re-use, recycle movement when it comes to dance decorations. If you attended or were a chaperone for the Lakewood High School prom in May, you enjoyed the fabulous decorations for the “Rangers of the Caribbean” theme. The decoration committee, led by American Greetings artist Jenny Fitchwell, created a menagerie of ocean and tropical flaura and fauna, including large cardboard sharks, murals of ships mermaids, papier mache sculptures of palm trees, pirates and more. The committee spent countless hours, beginning around Christmas, perfecting the decorations.
During the preparation for the prom, a Garfield parent who saw how fantastic the decorations were turning out, asked if they could be used again for the 8th grade dance at Garfield in June. A group of Garfield volunteers agreed to take down the decorations following After Prom at 3 a.m. and haul them over to Garfield. On June 1, the Garfield 8th graders enjoyed their last big event as middle schoolers surrounded by the repurposed decorations.
Even after the two dances, there was still life left in the decorations and surely a new site to be festooned. One of the Garfield parents who is also a member of Lakewood Congregational Church, asked if they could be used for her church’s Vacation Bible School later in the summer which was using an underwater theme. Word got around about these traveling decorations and just last week, Lakewood United Methodist Church festooned their Vacation Bible School classrooms with them.
While we all know these painstakingly created adornments will eventually end up in the recycling bin, it’s nice to know so many more young people were able to enjoy them before they reached the end of their use.
“I love the fact that the decorations are being reused,” said Fitchwell. “It was just meant to be that the Vacation Bible Schools happen to had an underwater theme this year. For all the time we spent, and we poured our hearts into them, it’s great that others can enjoy them."
Fitchwell wanted to make sure credit was given to all the parents, such as co-chairs Vicki Smigelski and Missy Neumann, who made After-Prom such a success. In particular a shout out goes to those who helped with creating the decorations that have now made their way around the city: Jeff and Missy Neumann, Evan Parke, Bob Szabo, Tom Reading, Cindy Einhouse, Jenny and Mark Grcic and Fitchwell’s American Greetings colleague, Lisa Aten, who made the amazing papier mache sculptures.
And who knows where they will end up next?!