Dartmouth High seniors saddle up for after prom

May 31, 2019

When Dartmouth High’s senior prom in Foxboro wound down, seniors traded their tuxedos for cowboy hats to continue the celebration at After Prom.

The annual tradition, now in its 25th year, provides a place for seniors to stay safe after senior prom. Each year, a dedicated group of committee members and volunteers transform the Dartmouth High gymnasium into a themed wonderland.

This year, committee co-chairs Melinda Garcia, Andrea Abreu, and Ana Veloso picked a country-western flair, complete with a mechanical bull, costumed volunteers, and plenty of dancing.

“We thought they’ve never done a western theme before, and we thought we’d be able to make it fun for the kids,” Abreu said.

With an army of parent and alumni volunteers, staff have been working for months to fundraise and build up programming. More than 100 local businesses and nonprofit organizations offered support to the program, and were recognized in a large banner which was draped over the entrance to the event.

“It’s a lot of parent volunteers, and even parents of past children,” Garcia said. “A lot of them come back to continue even after their kids leave.”

The main goal is to keep Dartmouth High’s senior class safe after their senior prom, preventing dangerous risks like driving under the influence.

“We need this event to continue happening, because we don’t want all these house parties happening again where they’re going to be driving in the middle of the night,” Veloso said. “This is a super important place.”

Of course, it’s also fun too. Students rode on their buses and limos from the Lakeside Pavilion in Foxboro straight back to the high school, arriving at about midnight. Some students changed out of their prom attire before getting in line and entering the wild west gymnasium.

Students rode mechanical bulls, danced the night away, and played on large obstacle courses and bouncy houses until 5 a.m. -- no one is allowed to leave without a parent’s permission.

While there were plenty of prizes to win, each student left a winner, as they were given gift certificates just for showing up.