Vernon Hills High School hosts Best Buddies Prom

On March 9, students came together at Best Buddies prom to celebrate the friendships created throughout the year.

“Best Buddies prom gives the buddies an unforgettable prom experience,” Lexi Rootberg (11), a member of Best Buddies said.

Best Buddies meets regularly throughout the school year and more recently, members of the club had opportunities in meetings to share ideas and themes. The club works together to create and set up decorations to transform the gym for the dance.  

“It was really cool to see all the decorations we made come together to make the school more festive for prom,” Rootberg said.

Best Buddies members spend more than a month preparing for the dance by collecting supplies and donations, sending invitations to surrounding schools and publicizing the event around Vernon Hills. The club puts in a lot of hard work to create a dance that every student can take part in.  

“We all work really hard to pull the event together, and it is so rewarding to see everyone dancing and having fun on the night of the [dance],” Avery Longdon (11), an executive board member, said.

Students from Vernon Hills, Libertyville, Stevenson, Mundelein, Grayslake North, Grayslake Central and Waukegan attended the dance. This created a unique opportunity for students in multiple schools to make connections outside of their regular circle.

“Bringing a bunch of schools together allows for people to make new friends and fill the gym up,” Grace Herrmann (12), a member of Best Buddies at Grayslake Central said.

The dance itself is accommodating in order to create an inclusive environment that can meet the needs of the buddies. The music is softer, there are no flashing lights and they have the support of their buddy. 

“I had parents come up and thank us because their student never got to participate in a dance before, or they did not feel comfortable allowing [their student] to go because they were worried about what might happen,” Ms. Martin, the adviser for Best Buddies, said.

At Best Buddies Prom, the students had dinner and dessert together, spent time with their friends and took pictures.

The students also had a lot of fun dancing for most of the night.

“The highlight for me was when one of our buddies’ favorite song came on. It was awesome to see him so excited and happy about [getting to dance],” Herrmann said.

Buddies have been developing relationships throughout the school year, and this prom serves as a night when the club gets to be together.

“Most of the buddies have established their friendship over the year,” Martin said. “Prom is just a great party for [buddies] to celebrate their friendships.”

At the end of the night, the goal was for buddies to have had the chance to take part in prom and to celebrate with their friends.

“The best part of the night was seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces,” Longdon said.