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Adult prom a second-chance event for attendees

Taylor King and Amanda Jones of Freeland, Pa.,

Taylor King and Amanda Jones of Freeland, Pa., get engaged at an adult prom in Hauppauge. Credit: Jennifer A. Uihlein

Amanda Jones, 23, never attended her high school prom, so when her boyfriend of five years, Taylor King, 27, asked her to be his date at an adult prom, she was excited. 

They drove nearly five hours from their home in Freeland, Pennsylvania, after King saw the event listed on Craigslist. It’s a visit they will never forget.

A teen mom at the age of 16, Jones traded prom dresses for diapers, setting her priority on raising her child and foregoing what many consider a high school rite of passage.  During their first year of dating, she mentioned that she didn’t go to her prom. It’s a conversation King remembered. 

“It only took him five years,” Jones said jokingly, “It’s the most romantic thing he has ever done,” she said with a chuckle.  That is, of course, until he proposed to her hours later on the dance floor.  “I’ve been asking for three years,” she said. “I can’t stop crying.”

Sequin-sparkling gowns, perfectly coifed hair and freshly polished shoes, were the style for the evening. Many women wore color-coordinated corsages, and the men had classic boutonnieres. It was a prom night, like no other. 

Saturday’s First Annual Adult Prom, organized by Shanelle Myrick, owner of Kay York Affairs, attracted 40 people to the intimate event held at the Upsky Long Island Hotel in Hauppauge. Many of the attendees didn’t attend their high school prom.

“I always wanted to go to my prom,” Myrick said. “And here I am, at my prom,” she said with delight.

Elaine Booker, 48, from Riverhead, graduated from Bridgehampton High School in 1984, but due to the school’s small class size – there were only 14 graduates -- there was no senior prom. Elaine and husband, Carl, now 56, met when Elaine was 19.  They've been together for the past 29 years.

“I always wanted him to be my prom date,” she said, adding that a second chance at a prom was a dream come true.

Paul Zen also took advantage of a second chance. The 2003 graduate of Plainedge High School missed his high school prom due to scheduling conflicts as he prepared for a Marine boot camp. More than a decade later, after serving three tours in Iraq, Paul, 28, finally made it to prom.

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