Juniors Ella Berman, Brooke Brumfield, Katie Janko and Maddie Swartz pose in front of a backdrop of the moon at the Illuminarium. (Photo: Instagram @maddiebswartz)

Since 2019, Pace students have been eagerly anticipating the return of an off-campus Prom. The wait came to an end on Apr. 23, when 248 students attended the annual dance at the Illuminarium Experience on the Atlanta Beltline. 

According to their website, the Illuminarium “transports you to a sensory experience like no other” with its laser-projected and changing virtual backdrops. This fit perfectly into this year’s theme of “Starry Knight,” as the location took students to outer space with its extraterrestrial backgrounds. In fact, the illusion of the room made students and teachers feel as if they were moving in space.

Before the trek to Downtown Atlanta, students arrived on campus at 5 p.m. for a picture party. From Junior and Senior class pictures to special photo ops planned by the Prom moms, everyone snapped some incredible photos. “I loved getting ready and taking pictures with my close friends,” said junior Anna Zinman. “I also really enjoyed Dr. Carter’s impromptu appearance!”

Students traveled to the show stopping venue on charter buses with chaperones. After a short walk down the Beltline, eliciting some odd glances from passersby, students arrived at the Illuminarium to enjoy a mocktail hour before entering the main room for dinner. For the next three hours, upperclassmen and a handful of sophomores partied it out on the dance floor, with the “Krazy Boyz” DJing all the hits. “I really enjoyed watching the DJ get down to the music,” said junior Hanna Yilma. The DJs even hosted a raffle with prizes including a JBL speaker, Atlanta United tickets and of course, breakfast with Head of Upper School Mr. Gannon. Junior Sara Mazur won the “choose your own parking spot.” “I got really lucky, and I’m super excited to be able to pick my spot next year,” she said.

Another popular aspect of the night was the gambling room. With six casino tables of games including blackjack and craps, many students preferred to take on this mini Vegas environment instead of dancing. “Ultimately, it’s about not losing your money, ” said junior Simon Gerber.

With a night of great fun and memories left behind, students trekked back to campus on buses, where they were greeted with a midnight snack: Sonic food trucks waiting back at the Academy. All of these small yet vital details were meticulously coordinated by volunteer Prom moms and student council, thanked for their commendable work. “Planning prom was definitely a challenging task,” said junior Vice President David Grice. “But seeing that everyone had a good time made me proud of our work as a council.” After so much anticipation with not having an off-campus Prom since 2019, the stakes were high. Fortunately, many students have expressed that all expectations were exceeded, especially seniors, as this was one of their first send-off celebrations. “I really enjoyed prom; it was beautiful,” said senior Sydney Middleton. “I was glad that I was able to spend senior prom with my friends.”

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