, Muskogee, OK

May 6, 2013

Prom both sweet and bittersweet

— By Wendy Burton

Times Editor

Saturday’s prom was a sweet, fun and memorable evening for Fort Gibson juniors and seniors, many said.

This year featured a theme of “A World of Pure Imagination,” with giant lollipops, a “candy bar” for snacks and bubbles raining down on the dancers — many dressed in candy-colored dresses and tuxedos, and one student in top hat a la’ Willie Wonka.

Though deliciously fun — senior Hunter Waltz said the candy bar was pretty cool and the juniors did a “really good job with the center pieces” — for many it was also bittersweet.

Senior Victor Olvera said he was having fun at the prom when the traditional senior video began playing.

“Then it kind of hit me,” Olvera said. “I didn’t even think until then of how soon it was all to end.”

Fort Gibson’s seniors graduate at 7 p.m. May 24.

And prom for Fort Gibson’s students is a time-honored tradition, filled with regular customs and featuring a special “send-off” for seniors, said sponsor Janet Freeling.

“The juniors raise all the money to fund the prom, and that is why juniors are asked to sell candy each year,” she said. “The seniors are our special guests.”

Freeling said juniors also take care of the decorations and freshmen and sophomore volunteers “work” at the prom each year.

“This year we had a chocolate fountain with fruit dippers, and they all loved it,” she said.

During the night, a senior video is shown. Seniors submit photos from their high school years, and students in the video production class put it together, Freeling said.

Each year the students vote for king and queen as they come in the door, she said.

This year’s queen was Taylor London. King was Jake Gandara.

“They didn’t come as dates, but it was cute that their outfits matched anyway,” Freeling said. “Of course, we made them do a little slow dance.”

At the end of the night, everyone toasts the seniors with apple juice, and fireworks traditionally end the night.

“We toast the seniors, wishing them well on their way,” Freeling said. “This year, the rain kept us from having our fireworks, though.”

Freeling said the school will start a new tradition next year with a freshmen/sophomore semi-formal dance to help raise funds for prom.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or