Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Here comes the prom

 •  O'ahu high school prom dates and themes

By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

Campbell junior prom queen Larielle Javier, 16, was all smiles before the big event last Saturday.

Photos by JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

spacer spacer

Campbell High School juniors cut out silhouettes of jazz musicians for their prom, themed "A Jazzy Rendezvous." The students started planning the prom about a year ago and are already thinking about their senior prom.

spacer spacer

Tammy Miller

spacer spacer

Prom queen Larielle Javier and other court members for Campbell High School's junior prom spend time trying to get their dance moves right.

Photos by JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

spacer spacer

Jester Galiza

spacer spacer

Campbell juniors Chris Comesario and April Tungpalan spray silver paint on roses to be used in centerpieces.

spacer spacer

Campbell's "jazzy" centerpiece.

spacer spacer

Every imaginable work surface in Tammy Miller's classroom-turned-prom headquarters was blanketed with laminated cutouts of jazz-musician silhouettes, teal tissue paper, black and silver ribbons, candle holders and scissors.

April Tungpalan, 16, sat on the floor tying ribbons onto dozens of tall glass candle holders, while a handful of her classmates worked at a table, cutting out hundreds of musical notes.

Meanwhile, a smooth ballad blared from outside the classroom in the middle of a concrete courtyard, where four couples — members of Campbell High School's junior prom court — practiced a ballroom dance.

"It's really hard work, but in the end, I know it's going to turn out great," said Tungpalan, junior class treasurer and a member of the prom committee.

The flurry of activity last week was a clear sign it was crunch time for Campbell's junior prom committee members, who were just days away from their March 11 soiree at the Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio hotel. Prom season statewide is usually from March to May.

While hundreds of their classmates worried about what to wear to the biggest bash of the year, this group of about a dozen behind-the-scenes planners also had to fret over actually throwing the party. That meant tackling questions like: What's the budget? Where will it be held? What will the theme and color scheme be? Who should take care of the music and photos?

"Students take care of everything," said Miller, Campbell's junior class co-adviser. "The only thing that I really do is just monitor everything."

Like most high school prom committees statewide, Campbell's juniors began planning for prom about a year ago — meaning now's the time to start gearing up for next year.

"We're planning next year's senior prom already, and this prom's not even over," Miller said and laughed.


Among the first steps in prom planning are figuring out a budget and booking the event site, Miller said.

"We chose our budget based on how much we wanted the students to pay (for their tickets) and we didn't want to go more than $50, so the final (budget) ended at being about $10,000," Miller said.

Based on the budget, the students decided on things like music, entertainment and photography.

But often the most fun in the prom-planning process are the aspects that get the students' creative juices flowing, such as coming up with a theme and color scheme, and dreaming up decorations to transform an ordinary ballroom into a fantasy formal.

"We wanted to try something different because a lot of people choose cliché themes, like about love and all that stuff," said Jester Galiza, Campbell's junior class president and prom chairman.

So the committee decided on "A Jazzy Rendezvous" and chose a color scheme of teal, black and silver. Decorations included table centerpieces of tall glass candle holders filled with iridescent pebbles and a silver silk rose, and accented with black and silver ribbons, as well as black, silver and teal balloons.

To go with their jazz theme, the juniors cut out laminated silhouettes of jazz musicians and hundreds of musical notes to embellish the entrance archway and table settings.

At Pearl City High School, senior prom committee members based their theme on a song, "Moments," by Westlife, then went with a pink and white scheme, said Leslie Fujii, the senior prom chairperson.

"We wanted to make it floral and springy," said Fujii, 17.

The decor for the seniors' April 14 prom at Sheraton Waikiki includes centerpieces made out of vellum hearts adorned with flowers and glitter on dowels, and placed in terra cotta pots.


Prom planning is a time-consuming process that often requires committee members to juggle other school and work priorities, so it's important to get on it as soon as possible, students say.

"Start early because that way, you're not rushing at the end," said Lynell Uyeda, a senior and co-chairperson of Maryknoll School's May 6 prom at the Sheraton Waikiki.

Since the process involves various steps, it's also key to "be organized, just so that you could stay on top of things," Fujii said.

And expect the unexpected.

"Always have a plan B. And a plan C," Miller said and laughed.

Planning can be tough, but being part of the behind-the-scenes team can be a fun and satisfying experience, said Galiza, while working on centerpieces in Miller's classroom.

"Being part of the final vision of the prom and just being able to say I was part of ... making it a success, that's the rewards that come from it," he said.

Reach Zenaida Serrano at zserrano@honoluluadvertiser.com.