Junior Prom Under the Night Sky

While organizing Junior Prom (JProm), the Junior Caucus faced many challenges, but, overall, it was a memorable event.

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Stuyvesant Junior Caucus hosted its annual tradition of Junior Prom (JProm) on May 27 on a four-story yacht, with the theme being Night Sky. The event started at 7:00 p.m. and docked at Pier 40 at 10:00 p.m.. A total of 315 participants and a few chaperones attended, with the highlights of the night being dancing, the performances by StuyLegacy and Berry Ongan, taking pictures at the photobooth, and stargazing.

Compared to other JProms in the past, the logistics in planning this year’s JProm were not entirely different. “It is fascinating how the JPromposals have not changed [...] [a]nd in terms of other things, the ticketing system is basically the same. We are still using Eventbrite,” Junior Caucus President Andrey Sokolov said.

However, there have still been some new additions in order to increase the excitement and morale of attendees. “I don’t think we used to have [performances],” Sokolov said. “The boat itself is different because we had to find a new contractor.”

In addition, along with selling the tickets on Eventbrite with a limit of 300 students, this year’s JProm also included a lottery system that randomly chose 12 students of those who applied on a Google Form to claim refunded tickets. “While we were able to have more tickets and get more money, it was more [...] for the kids who really wanted to go to JProm and couldn’t get the tickets in time,” Junior Caucus Events Director Cynthia Chang said.

JProm event coordinators worked closely with Assistant Principal of Security, Health, and Physical Education Brian Moran and Coordinator of Student Affairs Matt Polazzo, as COVID was a big concern for many students, especially at such a large-scale event. “In the beginning of the year we weren’t actually sure if JProm was actually going to happen because reopenings were very tedious,” junior and JProm coordinator Talia Hsia said. “We had to figure out our own COVID policy [and] how people were going to stay safe on the boat. That's why we decided to establish a vaccination card for negative COVID tests, much like the school.”

Nonetheless, many attendees expressed excitement, as this year’s JProm was their first formal high school event. “As it is the first opportunity to attend a school-related formal in high school, I wanted to go to see how different it would be from parties I went to in elementary and middle school,” junior Anthony Sun said.

In addition, the event provided a unique experience that allowed for more bonding time with friends after a stressful week of AP testing. “I guess it's just a part of the Stuy experience. I don't think other schools have the opportunity to go on a boat for JProm,” junior Christina Shen said. “It’s just a fun, party, social event. [...] My favorite part was just like hanging out with my friends and taking a lot of pictures. The photo booth was pretty nice too.”

Another memorable part of JProm was the dance floor. “I really enjoyed being on the dance floor. I always love when a party starts to warm up as more people join the stage and the DJ starts putting on good music hits,” junior Keara O’Donnell said.

Others share the same sentiment, expressing how the dance floor gave students the opportunity to dance without judgment. “When I attended parties when I was younger, I was always pretty self-conscious about such things, so it felt momentous to finally be able to let loose and have fun, even if I’m not good at it,” Sun said.

Though some juniors were concerned about the thunderstorm weather forecast that night, the weather didn’t end up interfering much with the JProm experience. “I thought the fact that the boat would be moving around while [there was a] thunderstorm would be pretty funny, and on the car ride there I was sure it would be as rainy as it was,” O’Donnell said. “But fortunately, it cleared up pretty nicely, and the sunset and night scenery was gorgeous.”

In case it rained, the committee had also prepared a backup plan incentivizing attendees to board the boat earlier. “We were able to solve [the problem] by buying all the materials beforehand [...], by amending a few of the plans that we had, by making sure that everybody knows that it’s going to rain, by providing incentives to come at 6:30 [p.m.],” Sokolov said. “We have Keara O’Donnell baking cookies [...] and we’re going to be giving away cookies to the first 150 attendees that come in so people could either come in or [...] miss out on the cookies.”

The 200 handmade sugar cookies O’Donnell baked in three days were also simultaneously used to raise money for her fundraiser for American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad. “It was pretty challenging but exciting to decorate them, since we made the swirls for the galaxy designs one by one,” O’Donnell said. “But I’m glad people really liked the cookies; some random people I’ve never met or spoken to in my life were walking up to me about the cookies so that was pretty interesting.”

Though most of the event was light-hearted and relaxing, some believed that policies regarding JProm admissions could have been more enforced. “One thing [that] I think could be improved would be checking what grades people are in,” said junior Carina Lee. “I know some of my friends that are juniors weren’t able to get tickets, so I was a bit surprised when I saw freshmen on the boat.”

Others felt that there could have been more time dedicated to seating arrangements. “I ended up eating my food on the couch, so maybe ticket bookings that came with seat reservations, where you could basically choose who you’d sit with beforehand, [...] would’ve been helpful and saved me that awkward 10 minutes of finding a seat,” O’Donnell said.

Furthermore, due to time constraints of boarding all attendees on the boat, the event coordinators didn’t have enough time to check vaccination cards or COVID statuses. “They did not check vaccination cards or negative tests because the chaperones ran out of time to check and just wanted to get everyone on the boat, but they did do a bag check,” an anonymous junior said. “Also, some people came even though they were COVID positive.”

JProm 2022 tickets sold for $80, their cheapest rate compared to prices in previous years. Due to last year’s unused allocation for an in-person JProm and a $6,000 discount, most attendees believed that the amount paid was worth the experience. “I saw the senior prom’s price and it was three times [more than] the price [for JProm]. I think for JProm, it was still on the cheaper side. We have to keep a note of all the people on the boat,” Shen said. “The teachers, [...] the food, [the] waiters and servers. There was also the DJ and the captain. They all need to get paid. I think we’re on the boat for four hours, so it makes sense in terms of people who were on it.”

Overall, though there was some apprehension before JProm in terms of weather and COVID protocols, the event garnered much support and was enjoyed by both students and everyone involved in its planning. “We were able to cut down the price a lot, and I mean a lot, like 25 percent, if not more. [...] It took a lot of planning, it took a lot of coordination. But in the end, I think it was all worth it,” Sokolov said.