After Prom Event To Take On “Festival” Atmosphere

Event moves outdoors for 2013.

A 2013 Nissan Juke like this one will be given away to one very lucky student.
A 2013 Nissan Juke will be given away to one lucky student.

With prom season wrapping up, RAYSAC – Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition is gearing up for the first-ever outdoor After Prom Grand Finale, which is highlighted every year by awarding a new car to a local student. This year’s Grand Finale will be held rain or shine on Saturday June 1, from 2-5 p.m. in downtown Roanoke’s Century Plaza, across the street from Fire Station Number One on Church Avenue.

“We want to create a festival atmosphere for the youth,” said Ashley Hatcher, Grand Finale coordinator. “The idea is to provide activities that the students will enjoy and value. We also wanted to be able to include more participation from our community partners in the Grand Finale.”

New this year will be a climbing wall provided by the National Guard. Roanoke Police will demonstrate the hazards of drunk driving with their “drunk goggles” simulator. The Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board will be on hand with a computer crash simulator, and caricature artist Molly Doyle will provide sketches of the students. There will also be a photo booth where participants can take fun pictures with their friends. Vendors will serve popcorn and nachos to round out the festival theme.

The event is held as incentive for high school students to remain at their after prom parties — where they are safe – until the very end. “We have not had an accident that resulted in injury or death to a student at a participating high school since the program started 25 years ago,” said RAYSAC Director Kathy Sullivan.

Again this year, RAYSAC will offer a new car to one lucky student. The vehicle is a dark silver Nissan Juke donated by First Team Auto Mall. It is the 23rd year First Team has donated a vehicle for the After Prom Grand Finale. “We believe strongly in giving back to the community,” said David Dillon, president and general manager of First Team Auto Mall in Roanoke. “Year after year, we hear from the students that the car is the incentive. We are happy to be part of a program that’s working.”

In addition to the car, two iPads will be given away and RAYSAC also guarantees that at least one student from each school will win a prize worth $100 or more.

Twenty-eight schools from across the region are participating this year, two more than last year. For the first time, the event is open to students designated as alternates as well as those who won the right to compete for the car and other prizes by staying at their after prom parties till the very end. Approximately 250 people are expected to attend.

 For more information on how to help keep kids safe on prom night or make a donation call Ashley Hatcher at (540) 982-1427 ext. 2132 or visit www.RAYSAC.org