Prom a hit among students despite hotel venue

The chatter and excitement filled the air as the days drew closer to April 22 for one of the most highly anticipated events of the year: prom. Dressed in style, seniors and juniors headed off to San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko in the evening to dance to the theme “As the Lights Go Down in the City.”

This year, the administration and senior class cabinet made some noticeable changes to make the prom experience safer and more enjoyable.

Upon arrival, students prepared to wait in a slightly longer line than usual to enter the venue due to additional use of metal detectors. Previous proms had only employed breathalyzers and bag searches to ensure a drug-free environment, but the rise in use of electronic cigarettes and vapes among students concerned and alerted the administration.

Despite the increase in wait time, students admired the hotel’s charming modern interior design and easily passed the time by posing for brief snapshots among the furniture.

Once inside the venue, students were each given a ticket to play a round of a casino game of their choice, including blackjack, craps, roulette and poker. The idea came from class coordinator Tyler Vanderley, who noticed that it was a popular activity for the prom three years ago.

“We wanted to provide people a fun activity besides dancing,” Vanderley said. “I thought having a casino area would be nice to have as a different kind of entertainment.”

Most opted to dance throughout the night, and the DJ’s music selection was met with praise.

“My favorite moment was dancing with all my friends because I thought the music was really nice,” senior Emily Azzaria said.

The photo booth and the food were also popular among students.

“At prom, I got that San Francisco feel; the vegetarian spring rolls were nice and tangy with the sweet and sour sauce, and the music was great,” senior Maggie Chang said. “As someone who loves taking photos, my favorite things about prom were the pre-prom photos and the photo booth.”

However, many students preferred last year’s prom at AT&T Park, an arguably once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I liked last year’s prom more mostly because of the venue,” Chang said. “AT&T Park was a lot more spacious, iconic, and fun in general compared to Hotel Nikko. Because there was the tour at AT&T Park, it felt like there was more to do than just dance whereas at Hotel Nikko, there was just dancing, food, and a gambling game that I didn’t know how to play.”

Ultimately, the administration decides on the venue because it involves working with the school and district’s schedule, the school’s budget, and district requirements. The location was determined a year in advance.

The senior class cabinet had put in a lot of time and effort to making this year’s prom just as memorable as last year’s prom, understanding that they had to make up for the difference in uniqueness and size of the venue.

“Right after we got back from winter break, we started working on all the prom details, like choosing the theme, what things to have there, and ticket design,” senior class vice president Andrew Chai said. “We met every week during lunch and had two meetings with a coordinator to discuss what we wanted at prom.”

The class cabinet also worked with Hotel Nikko to select food from a list of around 10 different entrees and decided on finger food such as chicken fingers, vegetarian spring roles, and empanadas after considering space constraints.

“We tried to have a varied menu and more finger food instead of a full meal like we had last year because there was a lot of space to sit down at AT&T and this year we had less space,” Chai said.

Although the attendance numbers were less than last year’s, the senior class cabinet was pleased with the outcome.

“As a tradition, BHS has had great proms and this definitely continues that,” Chai said. “Having to follow up on AT&T Park was hard, but I think people enjoyed it.”

Posted on May 8, 2017 .