June 13, 2014. Plans for an after-prom party at Avery High School began in the fall of 2013 when the members of the ACHS Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Advisor Cheri Frye, began a process to challenge students to make safe decisions.
Diligent work from students, staff and community resulted in winning an award of $25,000 grant from Celebrate My Drive sponsored by State Farm. Avery County High School competed in the small school category, was able to rank second placing them in the top 50 among all other high schools in the nation. Some of these funds were used for the after prom event; other monies were used for scholarships. In addition to the Celebrate My Drive Grant, Avery Schools received a donation of $3,000 from High Country Alcohol Beverage Control Board as seed money to begin planning the spring event.
The After-Prom Party took place immediately following the Avery High School prom on Saturday, April 26, 2014 to offer students a safe environment and exciting activities. This event offered approximately 290 students a safe, exciting night of fun with 75 community volunteers, security personnel and chaperones attending. When the doors opened at 11:30 p.m., each student had to sign in and make sure that their permission slips/waiver forms were on record. Everything was free including a t-shirt, gift bags, games, activities, music, food, keepsake pictures and a fire-works show. Students were able to participate in the following: laser tag, Adrenaline Rush Extreme obstacle Course competitions, Wrecking Ball, Sports Challenge Inflatable, basketball, various other competitive events, putt-putt golf, repelling (offered by the Linville Fire and Rescue Department and the Ladder Truck Company), photo booth, dance competition, bon fire, ping-pong, and air hockey. Refreshments included hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, coffee (provided by Kaye’s Kitchen of Newland), ice cream, sweets, and homemade baked goods donated by several churches and community members. Sugar Mountain Bakery donated the cupcakes, and J & S Photography of the High Country took the pictures for the photo booth.
Funding and collaboration by dedicated agencies and volunteers was an affirming effort to our students and parents that safety has and will always be an essential focus in providing activities for our youth. Cheri Frye, the driving force behind the After-Prom party, and Avery County Schools would like to express sincere gratitude to everyone including the High Country Alcohol Beverage Board (ABC) for their contribution. Their generous financial gift of $3,000 was vital in offering the means to provide the DJ, 300 gift bags, items for the “black light” room, pizza and fireworks.
Superintendent David Burleson stated, “The After-Prom Party was one of the best events we have ever offered our students. It’s the one night of the year that most educators pray that students will have a very special night and return home safely. The After-Prom party helped to offer students an opportunity to make safe decisions for clean, wholesome fun. We have heard nothing by positive feedback and hope to offer this event next year.”