When it comes to Oceanside, the party doesn’t stop after the prom. The class of 2018 kept the ball rolling on the night of June 25, stretching into early morning the next day with Dawn Delirium, a post-prom tradition now in its 28th year.
Dawn, as students have nicknamed the celebration, was held this year at The Loft by Bridgeview in Island Park. More than 400 students and guests attended this year’s event, along with 25 volunteers.
“I danced so much that my feet hurt,” recalled senior Christina Moran. “It was definitely a party atmosphere.”
Dawn Delirium began when Oceanside’s PTA members, as well as some nonmembers, received a portion of a state grant to fund their idea for a post-prom party, which evolved into Dawn Delirium.
Today, the bash is organized by a steer committee headed by Debbie Cohen and Oceanside school board Trustee Sandie Schoell, and is financed solely through donations and fundraising, but the mission remains the same: “To keep kids safe and give them an opportunity to have one last night to celebrate with their friends, especially for kids who are unable to afford prom, as it is completely free,” Schoell said.
Schoell, who first became involved in organizing the event roughly 20 years ago, explained that the $30,000 function, often takes a full year of planning.
“It’s supported by the community” she said, “and we couldn’t do it without all the support we receive.”
The chief fundraiser for the event is the annual Dawn Delirium Fashion Show, which took place in March. Seniors were given the opportunity to choose from donated dresses and tuxedos and model for the event, and local salon volunteers provided extensive makeup and hair stylings.
For night itself, local restaurants provided food, and the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce contributed decorations. Additionally, P.C. Richard and Son and Home Appliance gifted $7,000 worth of raffles at a discounted price — purchased with the money raised at the fashion show — including Bose electronic speakers, laptops, printers, televisions and coffeemakers. As per tradition, the grand prize raffled off was a brand new Ford Fiesta sponsored by Hempstead Ford. This year, John O’Sullivan was the lucky car winner.
Aside from being a celebration for the graduates, Dawn seeks to provide a safe, substance-free space for students after the prom. The music, food, raffles, and free admittance are all incentives to attend Dawn, rather than potentially make destructive decisions, according to Schoell.
“We wanted everyone in a place where we could get them help in case something happened,” she said, “and also show students that you can have a fun time without the use of drugs and alcohol.”
Two volunteer emergency medical technicians helped supervise the event, and this year all students returned home safe and sound.
“It’s really great that the school provides a safe setting for all of us students to keep having fun on our prom night,” senior Brianna Stanco said, adding that the night was definitely a success.
The graduates may have bid their final farewell to the high school at their graduation commencement, but Dawn Delirium was potentially the last time the teenagers would gather as classmates. “It was the last school event where everyone was together,” senior Alexa Weissman recounted, ”so it was really bittersweet.”