2012-04-26 / Local & State

Residents Question SF Prom Setting

Prom advisor weighs in on matter
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

On the tails of a recent letter to the editor, concerned grandparents Dick and Vivian Bernhard of Needmore sat down with the Southern Fulton School Board and administration last week to share their thoughts on the upcoming junior/senior prom being held in neighboring Franklin County.

In their letter to the “News” dated April 5, the Bernhards questioned the decision made for the prom to be held on May 12 at The Orchards in Chambersburg. The couple cited safety issues in regard to junior licenses, distance travelled and even cost factors, including tickets, apparel and gasoline.

Further noting the fact that proms were once held in the district’s gymnasium, the Bernhards stated at the time, “Our grandchildren are more valuable to us than the gym floor.” In speaking with the board last Tuesday evening, the Bernhards reiterated their points and stated their letter wasn’t meant to be “argumentative.”

Dick Bernhard said the children are at school to “learn about making good decisions.” “A few students probably presented a good picture of this place, and it snowballed from there ... Where were the class advisors?” he questioned. He would later add this decision is “beyond what is prudent or safe.”

Board member Allen Morton noted the number of proms he has attended over the years as a student and later as a parent and board member. He pointed out the board did not render a decision in the matter of prom location as it was up to the students. Morton then said the prom did not hold any educational value. He suggested allowing the students to hold the 2012 prom but cancel it for the following year.

Morton’s suggestion was quickly challenged by fellow member Sam Souders, who referred to the idea as “a stupid thing to say.” Souders added Morton had “no right to take that away from the kids.”

Morton would later apologize for his comments and stated he was concerned for all of the kids involved. “I don’t know how to fix it,” he said. “They (the students) decided not to have have it here.”

In hearing the rumor that the prom could not be held in the gym due to the flooring, high school Principal Meredith Hendershot confirmed that it was not an administrative decision to not have the event in the gym. She did note, however, the educational process for students is disrupted for a week due to decorating and the event itself.

Carolyn Mottern, who has served in the capacity of prom advisor for the last 15 years, spoke at length about the prom. During her first several years as prom advisor, the event was indeed held in the gym. Mottern made reference to numerous issues such as a leaky skylights; no air conditioning combined with an increase in humidity from a drop ceiling; students on scaffolding and ladders; classroom disruptions; and blown fuses.

Since leaving the school, the prom has been held in several locations such as Great Cacapon, Hancock American Legion, McConnellsburg American Legion and the Country Inn in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Over the years, attendance has also fluctuated, with this year’s event slated to bring in just shy of 167 people.

The prior location of The Country Inn could not handle this year’s number of attendees, Mottern said. Therefore, the class researched additional local venues such as Rocky Gap, Great Cacapon and White Tail.

“A lot of thought goes into this as well as planning,” said Mottern, who added she tries not to be “irresponsible” during the process. “ ... Nobody cares about these kids more than me ... I try to make good decisions.”

Board member Mark Mosemann thanked Mottern for her years of service as well as due diligence.

Fellow member Patrick Bard concluded this was not an easy fix for the district due to the lack of venues in the area. goods, a food stand, door prizes and an auction. The families have been busy collecting autographed items for the auction, which will include memorabilia from Tony Hawk, Jeff Gordon, Kenny Chesney and Carrie Underwood.

On a positive note, a cure for GSD appears to be getting closer, said Melinda Peck. At a recent symposium for GSD held in Lyon, France, it was announced a cure could be as found within the next two to five years. That news brings tears to the eyes of parents of children affected by GSD.

“Twenty-five years ago children with this disease had very little chance of survival past one or two years of age,” said the local families. “Today, the chances for survival into adulthood are very realistic thanks to advances in research and some wonderful doctors.”

Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation to the upcoming basket bingo to benefit GSD research can do so by making them payable to Melinda Peck, 204 Plum Tree Drive, Big Cove Tannery, PA 17212. Items may also be donated for the bingo and auction and can be picked up by request.

Furthermore, tickets are still available and can be purchased in advance by contacting Melinda Peck at 485-5027; Yolanda Hershey at 717-485-4185; or Patty McQuade at 717-485-4020.

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