Nazareth Academy will host its fourth Prom Night for Teens with Disabilities on March 11, 2017, from 7 – 9 p.m. The event is complimentary and couples are welcome; however, dates are not required. Each guest will be accompanied for the evening by a Nazareth student, who will act as a “buddy.”
The idea to host a prom began in 2011, inspired by the relationship and coordinated efforts of ASPIRE of Illinois and the Nazareth Friends in Service and Hospitality (FISH) Service Team. Since the first successful Prom in 2012, Nazareth’s Campus Ministry Department, Student Council and our service partner, Helping Hand Center, have all been deeply involved.
The Steering Committee for FISH Prom 2017, including seniors Brooke Gawel, Mary Clare Harrington, Maggie Reynolds and Maya Vondrasek, has been planning this event all year. In all, between planners, escorts and the students who run and volunteer at the event, over 100 Nazareth students will participate in the 2017 Prom.
All the members of the Steering Committee have all been involved with Helping Hand Center in Countryside as well as the FISH Service Team. They look forward to seeing those clients, with whom they’ve built connections, dressed up and ready to enjoy Prom.
Maya Vondrasek ‘17 is a co-leader of the Helping Hand service team and was a FISH Prom buddy in 2015. “I absolutely loved the experience of being a buddy and wanted to get more involved this year. I am devoted to this service project because I believe it truly lives out the Congregation of St. Joseph's mission of ‘helping the dear neighbor.’”
“Through this Prom and the FISH program overall, I have found my passion for working with those with disabilities and will pursue a physical or occupational therapy degree in college,” says Mary Clare Harrington ‘17 who was also a 2015 buddy. “I hope our guests have a wonderful night that is totally catered to their needs and that they feel special.”
Capitalizing on the St. Patrick’s Day theme, guests will enter Springer Hall down a “green” carpet. Guests can then dance the night away to our DJ’s tunes, snack on a wide array of refreshments, or play games with Naz students. As with any Prom, the attendees may dress for the occasion with prom dresses and tuxes; however, ties and more informal dresses are also acceptable.
“Everything about that night is focused around our guests and that is what really makes it special,” explains Maggie Reynolds ‘17. “I hope our guests have a great time because they deserve a fantastic night. Prom is a rite of passage and every high schooler should have the opportunity to experience a night of their very own.” Plans for the 2017 Prom include an awesome DJ, photos, games, treats and prom favors. Parents of the guests are treated to refreshments and fellowship in Nazareth’s Media Center, where the dance is streamed live for their enjoyment.
Anthony Gonzalez, a Nazareth Social Studies teacher who has been involved with all of Nazareth’s FISH Proms, finds the experience invaluable. “I was raised in education because my mother taught special education for almost 35 years. I always wanted to continue to develop meaningful connections to a community that enriched my life over the years. Service is not something I ever get tired of. That night, when I see our students come together with our community in such a special way, I like to take a step back and just absorb the moment. Their excitement to experience what everyone should reminds me of why I am in education and why I love being involved at Nazareth. No one does it better than we do.”
Due to the many details that go into making this the perfect night for each guest, confirmed reservations are required. To receive details and get your name on the Prom list, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit our website at www.nazfishprom.com
where we have online registration and event updates. For further questions or to get involved with this effort, please call Mrs. Rausch at 708.387.8520.