Project Prom

By Claudia Richter

Lindsay Johnson and Dallas Manaker at Seven Lakes High School’s 2012 Project Prom.

Unlike other Katy ISD high schools who host Project Grad, Seven Lakes High School hosts a different type of end of year celebration for students:  Project Prom.

Beginning with the first graduating class of 420 seniors in 2008, Seven Lakes High School has put the emphasis on prom night for a party and prizes for its graduating seniors and classmates, even though other schools in the area prefer to have their party after graduation. Donna Lysack, who just saw her third child graduate, is one of the approximately 150 volunteers who take part in the process and explained the rationale behind it. “We thought that Project Prom made more sense for us since during graduation there are families visiting from out of town and kids know that they are still accountable for their actions since school is not over yet.”

Still, the first two or three years of hosting the new event had some people upset. “After Seven Lakes High School was built and families were rezoned from Cinco Ranch High School, they were already familiar with Project Grad and that was what people were expecting. Some didn’t like the idea of changing.”

From many accounts, Project Prom is now well-received, and this year’s event held at the FunPlex in Houston had a total of 741 students in attendance. Of that number, 554 were seniors and the rest were underclassmen and guests. Students can invite anyone who is under 21. While at the Funplex, the students enjoyed an indoor ferris wheel, go karts, roller skating, casino, mechanical bull, bowling, bingo, arcade games and a moonwalk. They received a card loaded with $15 for the arcade games and drawings were held for prizes such as iPads, beats, televisions, and other items. Every senior received Samsonite luggage and a drawstring backpack as gifts.

Everything about the night is fine-tuned for safety and organization. Bus transportation is provided to the lock-in, and students are also returned to the school in the morning. Security is tight as Katy ISD Police Officers and parents look out for the student’s safety. Parents, such as Holli Manaker, donated their time by helping with the activities for the students at the event venue.

“I have enjoyed being so involved in my kids’ activities,” said Lysack, “It makes a difference to them knowing that I still want to be involved. Besides, once they go to college, they just want the financial support.”