Teenage girls in beautiful gowns and young men decked out in tuxedos are usually signs of a Junior-Senior Prom; however, the members of the Class of 2021 of Metter High School were literally “dressed to the nines” on Thursday, Jan. 9, not for their prom but for the class’s Prom Premier.
Prom Premier is the new iteration of the Prom Preview that started at Metter High School as a fundraiser for the Junior-Senior Prom almost a decade ago. The new version of a prom fashion show was sponsored by G Marie’s Formal Boutique of Lyons after Frills by Scott of Statesboro decided to limit its shows to Statesboro. The original concept of a prom fashion show was the creation of Pam Pittman of Metter when her daughter was a junior at MHS.
When members and parents of the Class of 2021 first got together to begin planning for the prom the juniors will provide for the Class of 2020, of course the issue of fundraising was addressed because the amount of money raised determines the type of event the class can sponsor.
When told that there would be no Prom Preview, several parents and students immediately suggested that G Marie’s might be interested in taking on the project. With just a few phone calls and contacts, Prom Premier was in the works.
Very shortly, plans were being made. Students, both girls and boys, from the Class of 2021 were asked to sign up to participate as models and stage hands and to take care of ticket sales. Miranda Rigdon, mother of class member Thomas Rigdon, accepted the role of Prom Premier coordinator. She was in close communication with Ginger Russell, owner of G Marie’s.
G Marie’s as sponsor would provide all of the formals for the female models, but there were other needs to pull off the show.
Contacts were made with Vault 206 of Metter, Merle Norman of Reidsville and Wren’s Southern Ladies and Gents to make arrangements for tuxedos for the young men who would escort the ladies.
Other volunteers were needed for adding the touches of makeup and hairstyles that were prom appropriate, so class members and parents got busy making contacts with friends and family members who would be willing to assist.
In the weeks leading into Thanksgiving holidays, each of the young ladies who had volunteered to model gowns had to travel to Lyons to G Marie’s so that measurements could be taken and dresses could be tried on. The girls were told that they would have to procure their own high heeled shoes and some “blingy” earrings that would accentuate a prom dress.
The girls spent time over their Christmas break getting these items together so that they would be ready for the big event. Prom Premier tickets went on sale in early December and sales were brisk.
The week of Prom Premier started with the escorts having dance practice. This was new for most of the young men who are more familiar with the ball field or the baseball diamond.
Local dance instructor Blair Rackett, owner and creative director of Studio South of Metter, choreographed and taught dances to the young men. For several evenings, all of the students spent a few hours each day rehearsing for the program. The girls were seen on stage wearing their school clothes or gym shorts and t-shirts with high heeled shoes. Add in the boys getting over their discomfort with dancing, and there were many laughs as the kinks were worked out in preparation for the big night.
Finally, the big day arrived. As the show’s participants arrived at the Metter K-8 school facility, everything started to come together. Hair and make-up preparation were changing the girls from cute to beautiful. As each girl found her assigned dresses, her eyes lit up and exclamations of “Oh my!” and “How pretty!” could be heard throughout the school’s hallways.
The big moment came when the girls donned their first dresses of the evening and the boys put on their tuxedos. All of a sudden, these children were supermodels ready for the show. Promptly at 7 p.m., the emcee, Dr. Justin Russell, started the show.
Each of the young ladies modeled two dresses, escorted by male class members. Between the Prom Premier Sets, dancers from Studio South performed. At the end of the show, everyone in the audience had been blown away by the girls and the formals from G Marie’s.
Lisa Longgrear, MHS teacher and mother of Class of 2021’s Jackson Longgrear, is the Class of 2021 class sponsor. She says, “I would like to commend the juniors who participated in the show. The students were great to work with, worked so well together and seemed to enjoy being with each other throughout the week of preparation and the show itself.”
Miranda Rigdon adds, “Room volunteers and Blair Rackett of Studio South said the students were great to work with. They were respectful of all of the adults and each other.”
Both Longgrear and Rigdon could not say enough about how great it was to work with Ginger and Justin Russell. “They were encouraging to the students and were relaxed and easy to work with,” says Rigdon.
“There are so many people who helped with the event who went unnoticed or unrecognized, but they were such a crucial aspect to the success of the show. From backstage volunteers to community members who donated their time and talents to make the girls look and feel great with beautiful makeup and hairstyles, we couldn’t have done it without them,” Longgrear expresses thankfully.
Metter High School Class of 2021 participants in Prom Premier included Brianna Aldrich, Morgan Aldrich, Topanga Berry, Sara Kate Carter, Aaron Collins, Brian Crooms, Gracie Daniel, Sarissa Ferrell, Ian Glanton, Katie Hadden, LizAnne Hadden, Ellen Hendrix, Savannah Holland, Angel Jarvis, Kylie Johnson, Jasmine Joyner, Tyler Kirkland, Jackson Longgrear, Allie Lightsey, Jayda Mason, Raegan McCarty, Taylor McGuire, Abbigail Monroe, Arleigh Monroe, Haley Mosley, Anna Motes, Delanie O’Brien, Charlye Oliver, Harley Oliver, Julianne Pecina, Railyn Porter, Randan Rigdon, Thomas Rigdon, Cassy Sapp, Hayden Shannon, John Simmons, Alissa Smith and Brendan Wood.
Hair and makeup volunteers were Neally Alderman, Brittany Brockman, Nikki Boone, Megan Dukes, Alicia Kelley, Grace Motes, Railey Rigdon, Abigail Tucker, and Jada Wilburn.
Backstage volunteers were Nikki Boone, Nita Callaway, Adina Cliett, Maggie Hadden, Suzanne Hunt, Jodi Kemp, Olivia Laird, Beth Phillips and Monica West. Dan Henderson provided photography, and Austen Carroll operated the spotlight.