The Earl L. Vandermeulen High School prom, a decades-old local tradition for the Port Jefferson community, is returning on Tuesday, June 28.
Since 1958, the prom has brought community members together in a spectacular send-off of its graduating seniors. The tradition includes a secret theme decided upon by the parents, along with a complete transformation of the school around that theme.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this tradition. Due to the lockdowns and social gathering restrictions put in place at the time, the event was severely limited in its scope and scale. The world is opening up again and so is the prom.
“This year, we’re doing a hybrid version,” said Randi DeWitt, a trustee of the Port Jefferson board of education and member of the prom committee. “Last year, it was just at The Meadow Club. This year, we’re going to do a traditional drive up at the high school as has always been done, but instead of going into the school, they’re going to head to The Meadow Club.”
An open invitation to the public
Reigniting this tradition will require active engagement on the part of the public. Community members are invited to view this year’s theme at The Meadow Club as well as the drive-up ceremony and red carpet event held at the high school.
“The tradition is that the whole area is filled with community members,” DeWitt said. “Not just the parents of the kids who are graduating, the whole community comes to view it.” She added, “That’s what we wanted to bring back: The sense of community because that is what has been lost for a couple of years due to COVID.”
DeWitt hopes for a large turnout to reward the monumental efforts of parents and the prom committee who brought this tradition to life once again. “We want [the community] to see what we’ve done here — all of our hard work — and then be here for the kids when they walk up,” she said.
A viewing of the decor and theme will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at The Meadow Club, 1147 Route 112, Port Jefferson Station. Photos of the attendees will begin at 4:15 p.m. at the Village Center. The red carpet event will start at 6 p.m. at the high school, after which the students will head to The Meadow Club for prom night.