Dancing the Night Away

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

By David Vitrano


GARYVILLE – Spring is prom season, so at first glance the gathering that took place Saturday might not seem so extraordinary. Add to the equation, however, that the setting was the St. John Adult Education Center and take into account the range in ages of the attendees, and one got the sense something special was taking place.

This year, at the suggestion of AEC Secretary Beverly Love, the center threw a prom to celebrate the achievements of its GED students.

According to Director Precious Joseph, “(Love) said, ‘Ms. Joseph, let’s give them a prom.’”

Joseph said she thought the idea was a good one because many of the students at the center were denied the chance to partake in all the usual trappings of high school.

“They are making their memories right now,” she said.

Unusual circumstances aside, the event had all the features of a “regular” prom.

Corsages adorned gowns and wrists, and balloons hung from the ceiling. A backdrop where photos could be taken stood against the back wall.

The evening’s impromptu emcee, Ann Harvey, called guests to the center of the dance floor to take part in contests including best dancer, best dressed, prettiest smile and, of course, prom king and queen.

Diandra and Jordan Wetzel were crowned prom royalty and also managed to snag best-dressed honors.

Carl Favorite, who lit up the dance floor for much of the evening and won the best male dancer award, said the prom experience he waited so many years for lived up to his expectations.

“I’m excited,” he said. “You can see that I’m excited.”

Classmate Kent Fredericks echoed Favorite’s emotions. “I think it was cool,” he said. “I think it was nice for the students to enjoy themselves.”

Joseph said she was pleased most students came out for the event. She said the staff at the center invited family members to pad the crowd in case turn out was low, but the measure was unnecessary.

“Everyone we invited is here,” she said.

The better-than-expected participation also gave Joseph hope for this weekend’s graduation ceremony, which will take place Saturday at the Adult Education Center at 10 a.m.

“We’re going to really pull out all the stops,” said Joseph.