According to Fonda-Fultonville junior class president Shelby Wadsworth, prom is a rite of passage, one that very nearly fell through the budgetary cracks this year.
“Prom is something we look forward to all year,” she said. “It would have been really disappointing to miss ours.”
Thanks to an extraordinary student effort, the event is back on track for May 18 at the Perthshire. Shelby’s mother, Michele, a class adviser helping to plan the event, laid out the prom saga.
Early last spring, just as the class of 2014 should have started planning their junior prom, Fonda-Fultonville’s budget proposal was rejected at the polls. Deep cuts had to be made in the revised budget, and deeper cuts were needed mid-year. In the flurry, everything not essential was lost.
“There was just no money for extracurriculars in the school coffers,” Michele Wadsworth said.
For students to raise prom money, the class of 2014 needed official school-employed advisers. “Last year we had to cut all our stipend positions,” said high school Principal David Halloran. “Class advisers were part of that.”
Wadsworth and fellow adviser Jessica Sisco wanted to volunteer, but Fonda-Fultonville Teachers Association contracts require payment. “Based on teacher contracts, we had to get a [combined] stipend of about $1,600,” she said.
Though Wadsworth plans to donate her pay back to the school, students still had to raise adviser money before starting prom planning.
“We got a bit of a late start because of that,” she said, noting there are a series of summer prom fundraisers that didn’t happen.
Roughly 20 committed student planners swept into action once advisers were secured in September, holding 10 fundraisers from tea parties to military basketball games.
This year, no parents stepped up to plan an after-prom party — the safe experience usually held in the school from midnight to 5 a.m. after the dance.
For years parents planned and funded the after-prom to keep their tux-and-gown-clad kids from running off to unsupervised parties. This time around, Halloran said, parents were split in too many directions after the budget cuts and the whole thing fell through. Instead, the prom will be extended an hour to 1 a.m.
As an adult, Halloran wasn’t sorry to see the late-night event go, and the young people seem to be fine with the change as well.
“I’ve been to the after-prom once or twice,” Shelby said. “It was fun, but this year we’re just happy to get the prom itself.”
The event is two months away, and students are still looking for donations. Wadsworth said checks can be made out to “FFCS Class of 2014 Prom” and sent to the school.