Students at the Vern Riffe School will celebrate their prom in style this year in the Shawnee State University Ballroom on Friday, May 13.
The Vern Riffe School Prom had always been held in the school gymnasium, until several years ago when administrators decided to move it to the Southern Ohio Medical Center Friends Center for a more rich experience. That eventually fell aside, as most things did, during COVID - skipping prom in 2020 and then returning to the Vern Riffe School in 2021 for a much smaller event. This year the celebration is back and bigger than ever, being hosted in the Shawnee State University Ballroom.
Melissa Gampp, an intervention specialist with the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said the goal is to give Vern Riffe students a traditional prom experience.
“I’m really thankful to Shawnee State University for stepping in to make that space available to us this year,” she said. “I think it’s very important for them to have the experience of that sit-down dinner, with real plates and real silverware so they have that real dining experience“
More than 20 students aged 16-22 will begin their day with breakfast at Shawnee State University, where they will later get changed into their prom suits and gowns. Students from the Scioto County Career Technical Center’s cosmetology program will also be there to help with hair and make-up. The Grand March will begin at 11 a.m. in the Shawnee ballroom as students take their walk to show off their new prom look for the very first time.
“All the family and friends can come for the grand March, and we’ll keep them separate so that nobody gets to see them until the big reveal when the doors open,” Gampp said.
Following the march, students have their photos taken by Impressive Studios before sitting down to enjoy a catered meal provided by McManus Catering. Then it’s time to dance!
“We’ve got kids who have never experienced this before and they start planning a year in advance, just like traditional schools. We have a girl who has her dress picked out for a whole year,” Gampp said.
At the end of the evening, students will change back into their street clothes for dismissal. Every student will receive a special prom t-shirt to remember the special day.
For more information, visit online at www.sciotodd.org.