By Kami Olmstead
Muscatine High School juniors and seniors spend weeks preparing for prom: dress shopping, tuxedo fittings, limousine rentals, and dinner reservations. April 30th, prom night, is the most exciting night of the year for many students, and the one night parents will happily say “yes” to their child staying out till 4:00 a.m.
This is the time of year that members of the C.A.P.E. Committee get busy. Their goal is to make a night to remember for the students who will attend C.A.P.E., the Carnival After Prom Extravaganza.
Immediately following the Muscatine High School Prom, from midnight till 4:00 a.m., 300 to 400 students will continue their celebration at C.A.P.E. This chaperoned four-hour event was first put together to provide prom attendees with a safe place to go after prom.
For more than twenty years, Muscatine High School has offered this after-prom party to students. Chris Nienhaus, Muscatine High School Assistant Principal, says Officer Conrad from the Muscatine Police Department will be present at the prom and after-prom party, as well as dozens of school staff and parent volunteers.
“We will have over fifty volunteers at the event to help out this year. There are so many good people that have helped for years. Some no longer have students that attend high school, but they still stay involved,” says Ginger Chatfield, a member of the C.A.P.E. Committee. The students attending C.A.P.E. must have a permission slip signed by parents. They are required to sign in at the event and sign out before leaving in the morning.
This year the event will have a Velcro wall, blow-up obstacle course, a dozen “minute to win it” games, casino games, a photo booth, and an airbrush tattoo artist. In addition to the games, there are prizes to be won: large prizes like computers and iPads or even carpets for dorm rooms, as well as a number of smaller prizes. Chatfield said businesses have donated around $10,000 worth of prizes this year. Local restaurants and businesses have also donated enough food and beverages for the hundreds of students and volunteers.
“C.A.P.E. provides a safe and fun environment for the kids, and is also a bit of stress relief for the parents on prom night,” Muscatine Police Chief Brett Talkington states. “The police officers enjoy interacting with the students throughout the school year, but prom night and C.A.P.E. are fun for everyone.”