After-prom party needs help to bowl more over

Some parents, staff and students at South Pointe High School are again trying to convince teenagers to skip the traditional after-prom parties and instead head to an alcohol- and drug-free party at the bowling alley.

That means no drinking, no drugs and no sneaking over to your prom date's house.

Perhaps surprising to some, students are getting hyped about the second annual after-prom party at Strikers in Rock Hill.

"I really like the whole idea of giving people another option besides going out and drinking, which is normally what happens on prom night," said Caroline Allen, a senior on the after-prom planning committee.

The party, which lasts until 4 a.m. the night of prom, will feature bowling, pool, casino games, karaoke, a photo booth, food and drinks.

Students must sign up for the event in advance and sign in when they arrive. If they don't show up or leave early, their parents are called.

"All of us as parents feel like this is something that is very important for us to give them an alternative," said Lori Thomas, vice chairwoman of the after-prom committee. "It's not only for one night, it's to show them that they can have fun without alcohol and drugs. It's to ingrain that in them for the rest of their lives."

Last year, prizes such as an iPod, a TV, a digital camera and gift cards were handed out. Thomas said she hopes to have similar prizes this year.

But to buy the prizes, the committee needs to raise about $2,500 more than the $4,500 collected.

Although she didn't win a prize, Katie Peterson, a senior who has served on the after-prom committee both years, said it was nice to have a place to hang out without drinking last year.

"Everyone knows who drinks and who doesn't," she said. "I was shocked to see some of the guys I would have figured were out partying were there, and they were playing the casino games. I thought that was really good to see. I think they had a good time, and hopefully more people will go this year."

Principal Al Leonard said students were at first hesitant to sign up because they didn't know what to expect. But between the games, the prizes and seeing their assistant principal sing karaoke in the wee hours of the morning, now they're sold.

"We've come a long way from begging students to come to saying, 'Hey, this is the place to be,'" Leonard said.

Many students at South Pointe on Tuesday said they had not decided whether they would attend the after-prom event. However, sign-ups for the party don't start until after spring break, which is next week.

Last year, when South Pointe didn't have a senior class, about 100 people went to the after-prom party. This year, juniors and seniors will attend prom.

Students said they look forward to hanging out with friends, talking about the prom, bowling and partying.

Junior Rolesha Spears said she's looking forward to dancing.

"I wanted to have fun," said Spears, who will attend the prom with a relative. "This is my first year going to prom, and I just wanted to celebrate."

Junior Jasmine Ross also said the party sounds like a good time.

Another perk?

"You get to stay out later," she said.