The supervised after-prom party: Now with cars, iPads and other goodies

Fri May 17, 2013 6:13pm EDT
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By Alice Mannette

WICHITA, Kansas (Reuters) - Sometime on Sunday morning, a Pennsylvania high school student will be presented with the keys to a black Honda Civic just for going to a party after the school's annual prom dance.

In Roanoke, Virginia, one student will drive away next month with a new car and two others will get iPads.

At a high school outside Dallas, two students received $500 college scholarships.

Around the country parents, schools and civic organizations are using extravagant door prizes to encourage high school students to attend supervised, alcohol-free events after their annual high school proms in a bid to keep them away from wild private parties.

"Proms are a lot like a rite of passage in America," said Sherry Hamby, research professor of psychology at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee. "It signals your maturity as a sexual person. Often it's the first time that they might go out to dinner independently."

Supervised after-prom events have been around for years, but they are becoming more elaborate, and organizers are offering expensive goodies to get teenagers' attention. Some are organized by parents, others by non-profit groups. The prizes are sometimes provided by local businesses, as with the car in Pennsylvania. Others are purchased through parent-led fundraising.

Derby High School in Derby, Kansas, outside Wichita, booked an entire amusement park for its after-prom party. The committee hired bus drivers to shuttle students back and forth, organized fundraisers and gathered prizes.

"This is so great. It gives kids something to do besides bad stuff. It gives them a place to go," said Victoria Balevre, 17, a junior at Derby High School who attended the amusement park party on April 20.   Continued...

A 2004 Honda Civic EX donated by a local car dealership is seen parked outside Unionville High School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania in this handout photo taken April 30, 2013. Douglas Scott/Handout via Reuters