The line to the red carpet stretched into the parking lot Saturday night as students waited to go into this year’s Joplin High School prom at the Holiday Inn Convention Center.
Girls wore dresses in every color and style, some reminiscent of Disney princesses walking into their “Once Upon a Time”-themed prom.
“I’ve been excited for months now, jumping up and down like a little girl,” said senior Shalea Purdy. “It’s a lot better than what I imagined it would be.”
Purdy and her date, senior Adam Lopardo, have been dating for about four years. The prom was their first together. Preparations began with Purdy selecting her red dress, and then the rest fell into place, Lopardo said. They looked forward to graduating in a few weeks.
“I think it’s going to be one of the best nights ever of the past four years,” Purdy said. “We’ve been through almost everything together.”
Parents watched students as they came in on the red carpet. Charissa Williams watched her daughter, junior Caitlin Williams, walk in.
“I went to a small-town Kansas school, so it’s a lot different and more fancy than my prom,” Williams said. “Our girls are going all out. The fancy dress, tanning, hair appointment, nail appointment and going to get makeup in Arkansas because they had to go to Sephora. We picked out dresses in January.”
There were three rooms decorated differently, including an Aladdin-themed room, an Alice in Wonderland-themed room and a princess-themed room. Features included a soda bar, henna station and Cupcakes by Liz.
“They did a nice job with decor,” said junior Victoria Thompson. “So far, it’s pretty good. I’m just thankful to have a prom this year.”
Prom sponsors estimated about 800 Joplin students attended the event. Many students had their pictures taken around town or at friends’ homes before going out to dinner. Fort Smith, Ark.-based band “doo froogly” performed in the Aladdin-themed room. The band describes itself as a pop-rock Top 40 cover band.
“I’m just looking forward to playing for kids that want to have fun,” said Craig Strickland, lead singer for “doo froogly.” “We want to help them have the best night possible.”
Many speculated that there would be a celebrity appearance by pop star Katy Perry. However, prom sponsors said there were no plans for a celebrity guest. Perry sent a message to students in February wishing them a happy prom. She was listed as one of more than 50 local and national sponsors.
“Things are going amazing,” said prom organizer Melissa Blayton. “The kids look phenomenal and they’re ready to party like rock stars.”
The fire alarm went off early in the night, but security attributed it to the fog machine.
2012 Prom Court
Nominees for prom queen were Siri Ancha, Allie Johnson, Miriah Johnson, Sarah Kessler and Julia Lewis. Nominees for prom king were Bryce Ash, Derek Carter, Jeff Herr, Alex Karns and Christian Underwood. Johnson was crowned queen, Underwood was crowned king.