A night to remember

Pennsbury High School goes all out when it comes to senior prom

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Senior prom is one of those magical nights that is never forgotten. After hours of gown shopping and days of decorating, students celebrate with classmates one last time before graduation takes them in different directions. For the students at Pennsbury High School, their four years ended with a bang on May 20 with entertainment from Questlove and Jersey Shore’s DJ Pauly D.

Feeling the love: The Root’s Questlove crafted a set specially for the 2017 Pennsbury senior class. PHOTO: Ann Langtry

Named the “Best Prom in America” by Reader’s Digest and Seventeen Magazine and the “Best Prom in the Philadelphia Region” by Philadelphia magazine, the Pennsbury senior prom has become a legendary tradition in the area.

Planning begins a year in advance, with the theme chosen by the junior class. Parents, alumni, students and faculty are all part of the prom committee that make the event a reality.

“It’s a true community effort,” said Ann Langtry, coordinator of communications at Pennsbury School District.

The evening kicked off at 5:15 p.m. with a two-hour arrival parade and red carpet walk for the seniors as they were cheered on by spectators. Many arrived on elaborate floats they created on flatbed trucks, while others drove past in fancy cars.

This year’s theme was entitled “Yo Philly,” and highlighted features of the City of Brotherly Love. Upon entering the school’s completely transformed two-story lobby from the red carpet, the students felt as though they walked right into the Philadelphia Flower Show. The lobby’s centerpiece was a rotating rendition of Robert Indiana’s LOVE statue on one side, and the word PROM on the other. Historical landmarks were sprinkled throughout the hallways, including the Liberty Bell, and even the bathrooms were lavishly decorated. According to Langtry, the decorating process is very organized, and an entire team is assigned to just one hallway or section of the school.

For dinner, there were three seating areas. The student dining room featured artistic displays of Philly foods from the Italian Market and other local spots. The gymnasium was centered on Philly sports teams, and held a jumbotron streaming live video throughout the night. There was also an area that paid tribute to the Mummers, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Chinatown.

The entertainment for the night kicked off in the auditorium with music from the school’s faculty band, while a DJ played simultaneously in the gym. Questlove, also know as the “modern day mayor of soul” of The Roots, took the stage from 8–9 p.m., with a set crafted specially for Pennsbury’s prom.

A hypnotist show followed after his set, and at 11:45 p.m., the voice of the Philadelphia Eagles, Merrill Reese, announced the 2017 Prom Court. Co-principals Lisa Becker and Reggie Meadows crowned Meghan Lucas and Joe Celli as Prom Queen and King.

Picture perfect: Meghan Lucas and Joe Celli were crowned prom queen and king, and the voice of the Philadelphia Eagles, Merrill Reese, announced the 2017 prom court. PHOTO: Ann Langtry

At midnight, Jersey Shore star DJ Pauly D, also known as Paul DelVecchio, performed a 90-minute set that was also created just for the 2017 senior class. Dinner and the rest of the entertainment was finished by this time, so the students were able to dedicate their full attention to the main act.

The evening was officially over at 1:30 a.m., and by 2 a.m., representatives from elementary and middle schools in the district came to claim various decorations they pretagged. According to Langtry, everything is recycled and used in other schools for end-of-year celebrations so that nothing goes to waste.

More than 1,200 guests, including students and faculty, came out for an evening of memories and entertainment, and though the decorations just came down, the current junior class is already gearing up to vote for next year’s theme. Past themes include the Great Gatsby, Summer Nights Under the Boardwalk Lights, fairytales, superheroes and the Oscars. Past artists in attendance include John Mayer, Ryan Cabrera, Asher Roth and Metro Station.

This year’s Pennsbury Senior Prom advisers were Tony Napoli, Curtis May, Keith Russell, Ashlee Tusina and Tara Bellman. The PHS administrator overseeing the 2017 prom was Assistant Principal Laura Tittle. ••