High school prom and graduation season can be an incredibly exciting time for local students. It can also be a time of high anxiety for the parents of the grads, especially the times after the prom or graduation events end and the after parties begin.
The anxiety levels for parents aren’t as high as they once were, as in our area it was 30 years ago when the first alternative to alcohol after prom and graduation parties began being planned. Pioneers in this effort locally included Oneonta, Unatego, Cooperstown, Walton and Sidney school districts.
“Steering students away from drinking on prom night is an important enough subject to have brought more than 50 parents and a dozen high school seniors to Oneonta High School library Wednesday night,” it was reported in The Daily Star of May 24, 1984.
“Our main thrust is to try to come up with alternatives to various parties in Otsego County for graduates,” said Lawrence Guzy, one of the parents.
The alternative was a non-alcoholic breakfast party from 2 to 6 a.m. following the prom on June 23, and places such as the Oneonta YMCA and Oneonta Country Club offered their facilities for the after prom party.
The need for the alternative came after an 18-year-old Cooperstown girl died in a one-car accident in 1983 during the prom and graduation season. The driver of the car, also a Cooperstown student, was charged with driving while intoxicated.
The Unatego Central School parents and students had also planned an alcohol-free party, reserving the Oneonta YMCA for June 2, following their prom held at Hartwick College.
The Star reported on Monday, June 4, that about 65 students took part in the party at the Y, representing about half of those at the prom.
“I thought it was a lot of fun,” Shelly Stoy said. “A lot of kids did not know about the party until last Thursday or Friday.” Organizers in both Oneonta and Unatego got off to a late start in their planning.