Local students have ‘clean fun’
A gourmet dinner, a decorated hall, lots of teens dressed up in gowns and suits dancing to modern music … sounds like a prom, right? Well, almost.
The dinner-dance hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also commonly referred to as Mormons) the evening of April 19 in Woodinville was the brainchild of Inglemoor High student Ashley Marcelis. She envisioned a classy, free event where young people could dress up and have “clean fun.”
And that is exactly what she got. After months of planning, more than 550 young men and women, ages 16-18, from Bothell, Woodinville, Redmond, Bellevue, Shoreline and Snohomish arrived in modest prom dresses and dapper suits to share a night of dinner and dancing.
Bothell High junior Jackson Pierce and Woodinville High senior Carlie Fisher enjoyed the “clean fun” they and others had, without the pressure to engage in “dirty dancing” or drinking, which are often prevalent at other teen events.
However, the adults who planned this event are quick to add that this was not a replacement prom for their children that attend local schools. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to actively participate in school activities and community events.
While being interviewed by KOMO 4 TV news reporter Joel Moreno, Marcelis pointed out that going to a high-school prom often requires a date and is expensive. In contrast, the dinner and dance was free and many teens came in groups or as individuals. She brought a friend from school who, though not a member of her church, was excited to come and participate. In fact, many of the teens brought friends not of their faith, but who share their desire for “clean fun.”
“Take a Walk on Boardwalk” was the evening’s theme, and the local church gym on 124th Avenue Northeast was transformed into a lavish world of Monopoly. Huge old-style cityscape murals, streetlamps and maitre d’s sporting top hats all added to the gala atmosphere.
After registering, the young men and women were ushered into one of several classrooms decorated as restaurants, where they were served Caesar salad, chicken roulade and desserts by an army of adult volunteers sporting black aprons.
During the evening, the teens earned play money by dancing and mixing with other young people from the surrounding areas. The play money they earned was redeemed for prizes and gift certificates, many of which were donated by local businesses.
So what did Marcelis learn from her experience? “One person can make a difference,” she said.
She hopes this dinner-dance for teens becomes an annual tradition on the Eastside for Mormon youths and their friends.