Eastern Hancock fundraises for free prom

GREENFIELD — Prom is a high school tradition that can be very expensive for students and parents.

That’s why Eastern Hancock High School’s junior class has worked to raise enough funds to make attending prom free for its students.

And this year, the class of 2016 decided it would step up its fundraising efforts. Instead of selling cookies or candy, the class decided to see if local businesses and community members would sponsor tables and chairs.

In years past, the school has conducted prom at the high school because it didn’t have the money to rent a venue.

This year’s junior class, however, has raised enough money to have prom May 2 at Blu Falls Arts & Events Center in Pendleton.

Junior class sponsor and business teacher Debbie Grass said students need to raise between $4,000 and $7,000 each year.

So far, between 10 and 15 companies or individuals have sponsored a table or an individual seat, allowing the school to be able to rent the venue, have a photo booth and a DJ.

The money raised covers the cost of snacks, decorations, invitations and crowns and sashes for the coronation.

“This year, we tried something different,” Grass said. “That has really helped us out.”

Each year, the juniors are ambitious, seeking to raise more money than previous classes.

Beginning at the start of the school year, Grass works with the prom committee to figure out what students’ goals are and how committed each student is to the effort.

“Every year, the group that comes in wants to be the best,” she said. “They’re so excited.”

Junior Kaycee Ruble said it was her idea to have table and chair sponsors.

She said she ran the idea by her parents, who are small business owners, and they loved it, so she decided to pitch it to her classmates.

At first, they were skeptical, she said, but then it clicked.

“They’re not just sponsoring a table,” she said. “They’re sponsoring a student having something fun to do. Now, everybody’s like, ‘Wow, that’s a great idea.’”

Junior class president Megan Mench said it was getting harder to sell cookies and similar items to students.

And those fundraisers weren’t financially savvy because the junior class had to pay for items up front in order to sell them.

Businesses or individuals can sponsor a table for $150 or a seat for $25 by contacting the Grass at the school.

Last week, Mench said there were only two tables left to sponsor.

She’s excited her class is going to make prom a memorable and affordable night for all juniors and seniors.

Attending prom is pricey, Mench said, and other schools charge between $50 and $100 for tickets.

Add the cost of a dress or suit, hair, nails and dinner, and the price tag can be much higher, making it an event some students might not be able to afford.

“Prom should not be something expensive; it should be something you enjoy,” Mench said. “A senior not being able to go because they don’t have the money … I just feel that’s a shame.”

“This allows us to make the seniors remember their last hurrah,” she said.

How to help

Eastern Hancock High School’s junior class is looking for help sponsoring its prom.

It’s selling table and chair sponsorships for $150 and $25, respectively.

To donate or buy a sponsorship, contact prom adviser Debbie Grass by calling 317-467-0095.

Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.