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  • Laurie Dennis, chairperson for Severna Park High School’s 2018 prom breakfast, received her Volunteer of the Month award from Brian Lancione, the Voice’s vice president of operations.
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Laurie Dennis, chairperson for Severna Park High School’s 2018 prom breakfast, received her Volunteer of the Month award from Brian Lancione, the Voice’s vice president of operations.

Laurie Dennis Pulls Off Successful Prom Breakfast

Maya Pottiger
Maya Pottiger's picture
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June 8, 2018

It was the week leading up to Severna Park High School’s prom and following prom breakfast, and Laurie Dennis felt a “zen-like peace.”

Then she got a phone call.

“The school called us saying, ‘Maybe we should have it at the school; we sold a lot of tickets,’” Dennis said.

Traditionally, the prom breakfast is held at the Severna Park Elks Lodge. Then, four days before the event, Dennis found out the school had exceeded the capacity for the Elks Lodge, and the fire marshal wouldn’t let them host prom breakfast there. The event was moved to the high school’s cafeteria.

A record number of students attended this year’s prom breakfast, Dennis said. In a class of 473 students, 400 seniors attended the event. That number doesn’t include the underclassmen and outside guests from other schools who attended.

“Even with those changes, there was some franticness, but I always felt like I had such a strong team of people behind me, I knew it would all be OK,” Dennis said.

And it was. Dennis, the chairperson for the 2018 prom breakfast, and her team of parent volunteers transformed the cafeteria. They took away the long tables and replaced them with round ones, adorned with white tablecloths and balloons in the school’s colors. The overhead lights were turned off, and white Christmas lights lit the cafeteria. There were even banners on the walls to serve as backdrops for photos.

The theme this year was “After Prom in the Park.” It featured all of the students’ favorite things from Severna Park, including food from Ledo Pizza and Donut Shack, Dennis said.

When Dennis took charge of this year’s prom breakfast, one of her main goals was to have enticing activities and prizes to keep kids around until the event ended at 2:00am.

She borrowed foosball tables, ping pong tables, some giant Jenga sets and dozens of card games to leave on the tables.

“There were groups of kids just sitting at tables playing card games, which I think is not what you expect when you’re seeing seniors after prom night,” Dennis said.

Prom breakfast isn’t Dennis’ first taste of volunteering with the schools. Over the years, she has volunteered at Jones Elementary and Severna Park Middle School in addition to the high school. Her volunteering started when her oldest of three sons was in first grade at Jones Elementary, and she served as a “room mom.”

Since then, Dennis has worked on Jones’ yearbook, sat at the middle school’s greeter desk, chaperoned field trips, coordinated after-school clubs and taken photographs for the high school’s swim team.

A former teacher herself, Dennis understands the demands of the job and wants to help in any way she can.

“Part of why I volunteer so much at the schools is because I want to support the teachers. I think it is one of the most difficult jobs,” Dennis said. “If I can take some of their burden from them and help them to be prepared and ready to work with my kids, it’s going to benefit my kids and all the other kids.”

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