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McAuley’s post-prom debut a gym dandy

Mother McAuley High School students JuliGeraghty (from left) Maeve Burke Maggie Clifford Molly McInerney pose before prom. The all-girls school

Mother McAuley High School students Julia Geraghty (from left), Maeve Burke, Maggie Clifford and Molly McInerney pose before prom. The all-girls school held its first-ever post-prom party Sunday morning. | Supplied photo

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Updated: June 7, 2014 6:24AM



Gabby Ennis spent about five hours preparing Saturday for the Mother McAuley High School prom, where she and hundreds of her fellow seniors danced the night away.

It took Ennis just seconds to flip off her heels and lace up a pair of tennis shoes for a few volleyball matches at the school’s first-ever post-prom early Sunday morning.

This year, the all-girls Catholic school in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community threw a post-prom party in the school’s gymnasium. The event was created to have a safe place for students following the big dance.

“We wanted to offer an alternative to some at-risk behaviors that some kids engage in after prom,” McAuley Principal Claudia Woodruff said.

A student-run task force came up with ideas and planned the party, which went from 1 to 4 a.m., Woodruff said.

The school provided several bounce houses, a photo booth, movies, basketball and volleyball games to the students. Catering came from local restaurant Clancy’s, which is owned by McAuley parent Kevin O’Kennedy. Trolleys carried the girls and their escorts from the Oak Brook prom venue to the school.

Prom weekend consistently is one of the busiest of the year for seniors. Between prom preparations and the dance, the girls want to keep the fun of the weekend going, Woodruff said.

“Students never want prom to end,” Woodruff said. “It seems as though the weekend can’t just be one dance.”

Ennis, 18, a senior volleyball player from Palos Heights who will be on scholarship at Cornell University next school year, said she got in a couple of volleyball matches during the wee hours of the post-prom morning.

“We still had our fancy hair and earrings but were in sweat pants and T-shirts,” she said.

Traditionally, prom signals the approaching end of students’ high school careers. With only a few weeks left in the school year, girls such as Maggie Clifford, 17, of the Mount Greenwood community, looked at post-prom as one of the last blasts before college and the real world.

“It was nice to be with our peers for the last time, together, as a class,” Clifford said.

Students were encouraged, but not required, to attend the red carpet-themed post-prom party. Nearly half of the girls who were at prom and their escorts participated.

Woodruff said the feedback from students and parents has been positive, and they hope to make the post-prom party an annual event.

“Our goal eventually is to have 100 percent of the senior class attend,” Woodruff said.

Mother McAuley educates almost 1,200 students in grades nine to 12 and is the country’s largest all-girls high school, according to its website.



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