ST. MARYS — Memorial High School students were decked out in sequins, glitter, top hats and ties Saturday night for the Promenade in Memorial Park, where friends and family watched them walk the local version of the red carpet.
The students gave a nod to the theme “Fantasea” by giving the first catwalk opportunity to students in sea-themed costumes.
“It’s an opportunity for the community to come out and see the school and the students,” said Becky Macwhinney, of the Chamber of Commerce, who helped coordinate the event.
The local right-of-passage has gone on for decades, she said. Many people who come don’t necessarily know a prom-goer.
“This is a special night for them, it kind of signals the end of the school year,” she said. “It carries on a Roughrider tradition.”
Many students took the opportunity to show their personality on prom night, sporting sunglasses, camouflage, cowboy boots or interesting hats, and several students appeared to have dyed their hair to match their dresses.
Amanda McEvoy attended the event to show support for her brother in his first prom; she remembers doing the promenade herself.
“It’s special for them,” she said. “They remember it for the rest of their lives.”
Parents Mark and Cindy Briggs were excited to see their daughter walk the promenade.
“I can’t believe how grown up she is,” said Cindy Briggs. “Gorgeous.”
While she said it serves as a local fashion show, it is especially important for seniors, she said.
“It’s their last hurrah,” Cindy Briggs said. “They’re excited and nervous.”
Kebrina Salisbury said she felt privileged that the community came out to wish the students a good prom.
“It’s my first year for promenade,” she said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking.”
She said she’d been up since 9:30 a.m. getting ready for prom, giving the whole day to it.
Megan Diehl said she’d also spend the day getting ready.
“It was a little scary,” Diehl said. “I’m shy, so there’s a lot of people. I was scared I was going to fall or something. But I really appreciate (the crowd).”