At Patchogue-Medford High School circus-themed prom Tuesday night at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook, 560 students munched on popcorn and posed with a man balancing on sky-high stilts while a live band took the place of a DJ.
But for all the pomp and circumstance, Tashanah Vallon had a slightly different way of celebrating in mind. While many teens see prom as chance to show off their independence, she saw it as a way to say thanks to her family before heading off to the next stage in life.
Outside the venue, Vallon, 18, happily snapped photos with her family — parents, cousins, sister and aunt— all by her side seeing her off for her big night. She wore a peach halter gown with silver beading as she and the group gathered in front of a cascading waterfall.
“I wanted them here with me because they’ve been with me through everything,” she says. “They support me and everything I do.”
Vallon plans to follow in her parents’ footsteps by pursuing Suffolk Community College’s nursing program in the fall.
Her father, Joseph, a nursing assistant at Grace Plaza Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Great Neck, says she has the right personality for the field.
“She’s compassionate and sensitive,” he says.
Her mom, Youseline, a nursing assistant who works at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack, says she’s proud of her daughter’s decision.
“It’s a nice way to help others who are ill,” she says.
Tashanah finally joined in on the fun inside, but not until indulging in one last photo with her family.
“I’m very thankful for them,” Vallon says.