The Alternative Schools Network (ASN), in collaboration with their member schools, celebrated the 2015 Prom this year on June 5th. It was again hosted by the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, located downtown in the Magnificent Mile.
This year’s theme for Prom was “Wishing on a Star”, chosen by the Prom committee which consists of a representative from each of the 27 participating alternative high schools.
Prom is the largest event that Alternative School’s Network puts together; it includes both member schools and collaborative alternative schools in the area. It is a chance for kids from many different neighborhoods and territories in Chicago to come together and celebrate their successes. Prom Night is not just a celebrated milestone; it also is a constructive social learning experience, a remarkable demonstration of overcoming factors that can lead to violence and an effective violence prevention vehicle. With each new ASN Prom Night, youth will build social and emotional skills and learn how to approach social interactions without violence.
A few things make ASN’s prom different from most. First, the ASN prom gives students the opportunity to see that they were not the only school/group of young adults that attended an alternative school. They are not alone in needing a second or third chance to earn an education. They are not the only student that needed out of the structure of a traditional school, but not out of an education. Another more specific difference is that all the participating schools get to choose their own separate prom queen and king. This year we had about 27 participating schools each with their own royal court! The ASN Prom gives students a night to celebrate their graduation from high school.
The ASN Prom is organized by Harriette Coleman and Kate Sandy. Harriette is a Youth Experiencing Success (YES) Program Manager and has been the Prom Coordinator now for approximately 7 years. Kate Sandy is the Title XX / Compass Counseling Program Director and has been assisting Harriette for the last 6 years. Together, Harriette and Kate coordinate and work out every detail to ensure a memorable experience is had by the celebrating students, all 600 of them. These ladies do it all, from finding the venue and photographers to collaborating with the schools in attendance. Along with Harriette and Kate, school chaperones volunteer their time and efforts to make sure that the night is a successful one.
Harriette Coleman and Kate Sandy coordinate the annual ASN Prom.
The 2015 Prom was attended by approximately 600 students and they looked fly! According to Harriette Coleman, ASN prom Coordinator, “The fashion was elegant…amazing and overall outstanding this year.” A lot of the gentleman chose to wear white suits with accents and pops of color, such as blue and yellow, to match their dates. The ladies wore floor length, brightly colored dresses, with interesting cutouts and bejeweled accents.
ASN has been organizing an annual Prom night for over 30 years now and as always we really look forward to next year and celebrating all the students in our network.
Click here to see all our pics from the 2015 Prom!
Here are a few quotes regarding the ASN Prom -
Destiny Cruz, Student from El Cuarto Año High School, "This day is important to me because it's a milestone for so many good things I can tell my future children; that I made it and you can too."
Hilda Franco (History Teacher at Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy),"This day is important to me, as an educator, because it marks why I do the work. Essentially this is the reason I became an educator. It's the reason many of us became educators, and it's to give young people the opportunity to get a diploma, to feel accomplished and to do something with the diploma."
Jeterica Gray (Student from CCA Academy),"I'm just happy I made it!"
Justin McGee (Student from CCA Academy)," Graduation day is a step to the next level of my life, college maybe, and I am ready."
Andrea Williams (Student from Prologue Early College High School),"I found the strength to keep pushing and to believe in myself, because if I didn't I wouldn't be right here where I am today."
This article was written by Paige McLeod (YES Program Manager)