By Pam Dudding
As teachers and volunteers loaded more than 70 students onto charter buses for a “Straight Outta Craig” After-Prom night, excitement was high. Approximately 20 staff and volunteers chaperoned for the Craig County High School After Prom getaway.
After their prom at Bailey Wick Farms, Juniors and Seniors and their dates head to the Christiansburg bowling and arcade complex It’s Game Time at the Superbowl. Laughter, smiles and jokes were in great abundance, and it seemed the energy level was at its ultimate max.
“Straight Outta Craig” was partially sponsored by a grant from YOVASO (Youth of Va Speak Out About Traffic Safety).
“This is an organization committed to keeping students safe on the roads,” Karen Jones, librarian and gifted resource teacher at McCleary Elementary shared. “The purpose of the after-prom event is to provide students with an alcohol-free and drug-free alternative that will keep them safe and off the roads on prom night.”
Upon entering the Superbowl, they were in for a night of bowling, laser tag, bumper cars and arcade games. While students were enjoying the night, comments such as, “This is wild!” “I love it!” and “Let’s make the most of it tonight!” amongst many other positive gestures were made. This warmed the hearts of the volunteers and staff as it took much planning and time.
“This was sort of the ‘swan song’ of the Menezes family, who have been running the After Prom since 2016,” Jones said. “The ‘Straight Outta Craig’ was their idea for 2020, but it never got to be carried out because of COVID. They all stayed on board the committee this year in order to see their plan come to fruition.”
“My mom and I have been on the committee for 7 years and I would have to say this was probably the best one so far! So many volunteers donated their time, money, and talents to make this event happen for our CCHS students. This will be our last year on the committee for a while, but Karen Jones stepped up to keep the APP rolling. She has worked so hard to make this event happen in such a short time frame,” shared Amelia Taylor. “The students of CCHS would like to say THANK YOU to our community for your outpouring of love, dedication, and donations to make the After Prom Party of 2022 happen. Times have changed and every year it gets harder and harder to get students to After Prom and even harder to get them to stay at After Prom! We decided to try something new this year and took the party on the road. The students enjoyed chartered buses equipped with trivia and games on the way to our destination.”
She added that Tasha Zimmerman Hannah, Sheri Leigh Sloss and Chris Fisher Ratliff were also critical in making this event possible. During the night, much food which was donated was available, pizza, donuts, chips, cheesecake, and sandwiches, just to name a few.
This year’s sponsors were Yovaso, Adams Construction, Paitsel Funeral Home, CC Fairground Association, AEP, Crossroads Church, Craig County Community Church, Level Green Christian Church, Craig Botetourt Electric, Farmers, Merchants, Market Street Pharmacy, Shelor Motor Mile, Sisson Ryan, School Board members, Craig Healing Springs Church, New Castle United Methodist, Monroe County Health/Dental Centers, Grace Baptist Church, Guthrie Insurance, Pine Top, IGA Express, Gopher Market, George Foster, New Castle Christian Church, Bethel UMC, Don Charlton, Robin Lipps, CC Mud Mafia, Chestnut Grove Church, Mountain Branch Farm (Chip and Debbie Snead) Farm Bureau, Charlton Associates, Forks of Johns Creek Church, Jackie Scruggs Taylor, Pemtel, Lois Groseclose, Diane Smith, CJ’s Lawn Care, John T. Morgan Roofing, Joe’s Trees, D C Excavating LLC, Richard Brown, Stebar Hauling LLC, Lasterday Market, Food Country, Craig Valley Baptist Church Ladies Bible Study Group, Mama Maria’s, Subway, Target, CCHS Sports, Gerri VanDyke, Corbin’s Confections, Member One, Versona, Morgan Bernier, Chick-fil-A, Swinging Bridge/Paint Bank General Store, Buckle, Cracker Barrel, Pine Top, Hanging Rock Golf Club, Zimmerman’s Equipment Inc, Grace Assembly of God, Church of Christ, Eugene and Terry Ratliff, Buckle, Cornerstone Church of God, Competition Cars & Classics, Precision Tool & Grind (Halsey Brown), Tommy and Stacey Fisher, Hypes Heating & Air, Lucas Landscaping, Collins Entertainment, Grand Furniture, Mike’s Ice House, Legacy Auction Company, Coca-Cola, McAllister’s Deli, Kevin Bevins, National Pools & Spas, Giles-Craig Communications Inc, Brittany Bryant, Helms & Helms (True Value), Carol Rhodes, Dawn Hannah, Lee-Hi Lanes, Thunder Valley, William P. Hamlin, Craig County Rural Health Care Corp, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Tim and Angie Huffman, Darren and Samantha Gilreath, Lanier and Thecia Frantz, Julie Huffman, Faye Powers and Steve and Connie Tate.
The grand prize winners were shocked at their prizes. The “Seniors only” prize winners were: Colton Moore, who won an iPhone 13; Nathanial Sarver, who won $300 in cash and Reann Peters, who won the kayak, which was donated in memory of her grandmother, Janie Peters who worked for years at the school.
Other grand prize winners were Layton Huffman, taking home an Xbox Series X; Randall Oliver with an Oculus Quest VR headset; Eliza Muncey won airpods; Adam Charles won a $250 Grand Furniture gift card; Alex McDowell a new TV; Johnny Hutchison Jr. won an autographed Cleveland Browns jersey; Jacob Hannah a $100 Visa gift card; Bronwyn Mixon a $100 Ticketmaster gift card and Dillon Crowder won concert tickets.
Also, because of the great generosity of the many businesses, every student left with at least one gift card and some won up to three or four.
“Our community really poured out the donations for this event!” Jones exclaimed with great appreciation. “We stressed to the kids over and over that their community was telling them, ‘We love you and we know that things have been tough for you these past couple of years, but we want you to know we love you and care about you and want to do something special for you after all you have been through.’”