School Board Offers Support For Spring Prom Plans

Los Alamos High School Junior Class President Deanna Gutierrez, left, and Junior Class Vice President Jordan Henson prepare to give a talk at Thursday’s school board work session at Mountain Elementary about plans for this year’s prom. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/  
A large crowd packed into Mountain Elementary School’s library Thursday evening to learn about this year’s prom. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/
Los Alamos Daily Post

The Los Alamos School Board and administration offered its full support to help this year’s prom boldly go where it has never gone before.

After hosting the dance at either Los Alamos High School’s cafeteria or Black Box Theater for the last two years, the junior class has something different in mind. The plan is to host the event at an off campus venue.  During a presentation made at the board’s work session Thursday night at Mountain Elementary School, Junior Class President Deanne Gutierrez and Vice President Jordan Henson said the class favors going to Buffalo Thunder. While the board cannot formally approve the student body’s decision, all the members present at the work session voiced their support to relocate the prom as well as to offer assistance in the endeavor. 

“We look forward to helping you any way we can,” Board Secretary Matt Williams said.

The school district administration also offered support and help. “Everybody will be very supportive,” Superintendent Gene Schmidt said, which earned an applause from the large crowd that gathered in the elementary school’s library.

Assistance will be given in reviewing a contract with the selected venue as well as working on the details for transportation to and from the dance. Schmidt advised working with the Los Alamos High School administration to review the contract and suggested working with Assistant Superintendent Gerry Washburn.

In their presentation, Gutierrez and Henson said 379 students attended last year’s prom. This year’s junior and senior classes are larger and the student council considered other options to host the dance. Gutierrez noted the features Buffalo Thunder offers the prom including a three-course meal as well as setup and clean-up services.

“That was a really great feature as far as the student council was concerned,” she said.

Additionally, decorations and centerpieces would be provided and the resort offers security services, too. For instance, for those concerned with students reserving hotel rooms, Gutierrez said the hotel would provide “a red flagged” list. The hotel would also offer security personnel. The area where prom would be held would be separate from the casino and would have one entrance and one exit.

Gutierrez also said the student council would like to provide busses to transport students to and from the dance and have parents provide a waiver if they choose not to use the transportation. She also noted that Buffalo Thunder has successfully hosted more than 40 proms.  

“We looked at and really thought about the issues,” Guttierez said, adding that it is also important to realize that the resort is located on tribal land, therefore people need to be aware of the sovereign nation’s laws and enforcement.

Although Buffalo Thunder is the favored option because of what is offered for the money, the student council also looked into booking the Los Alamos Golf Course. At this location, Henson said the event would be spread out into four separate areas with a tent and dance floor erected outside. Hors d’oeuvres and dessert would be served. Chaperones, administrators and school security would provide security at the venue. The golf course would not provide setup, cleanup services or decorations.

Henson added the issues with this venue include room capacity, limited restroom facilities, whether or not the weather will impact using an outdoor tent, and if the construction of the clubhouse will be completed as anticipated in time for the prom. The project is expected to be completed in March and prom is scheduled for April.

The prices differ with each option. If the golf course is the venue, tickets would cost $36 and if Buffalo Thunder is used, tickets would be $50. In the past, tickets were free. Gutierrez and Henson said ticket sales would cover the cost of renting the venue and the junior class will provide the D.J. and prom court expenses such as the sashes and crowns. If Buffalo Thunder is selected, money will be given to its scholarship.

The school board seemed to also favor Buffalo Thunder. “Buffalo Thunder is an acceptable venue,” Board Member Jim Hall said. “And it is a very professional facility.”

In regard to the necessary actions still needed to be addressed, Board Member NancyAnn Holmes asked, “Do you have a plan forward?” Gutierrez said the next step was to get the contract signed. April is rapidly approaching and students are hoping to have a prom, she said.

Board President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie commended the students for being involved in high school life, adding, “(We) encourage you to keep going after what you want.”

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