Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Fine Prom 'Showoff'

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Fine Prom 'Showoff'

Article excerpt

TEANECK -- The high school's Class of 2014 cleaned up well for Thursday night's prom, which some feared was in jeopardy after the senior-class prank two weeks ago that resulted in criminal charges for one-fifth of the class.

But the large crowd gathered in the parking lot of Fairleigh Dickinson University for the annual "showoff" -- a tradition in which teenagers strut in their dresses and tuxedos -- showered the budding adults with celebrity-esque cheers and compliments, which many said was a testament to the character of the township.

"No matter what happens in this town, we show support for one another," said Rosalena Nova, a 17-year-old prom attendee escorted by David Martinez, also 17. Both said celebrating the end of their high school careers had special significance after weeks of negative attention for the township's teenagers.

On Wednesday, students arrested in connection with what was said to be another tradition -- the senior prank -- learned they were facing less severe charges and that they could walk away from the ordeal without criminal records. School administrators decided against taking away the prom for the students caught in the incident.

Many of those same students arrived in luxury cars, stretch limousines, and party buses. It drizzled for most of the affair, but the young women stepped out wearing flowing dresses of chiffon and layered lace, in every color of the rainbow, some of them with trains that swept the damp concrete parking lot. The young men were in classic tuxedos, some of them opting for a dash of color in their bow ties, vests and handkerchiefs.

"Everybody cleans up well," Brooke Burns, 17, said after she and her escort, 17-year-old Alteriq Taylor, completed their stroll past hundreds of students, parents and other guests lined up along a metal barricade. "It proves that this is not a bad place."

Jeffery Bivins, 18, one of the students charged in the prank incident, said he and others arrested were together on Wednesday, when they learned that the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office had downgraded the charges of burglary and criminal mischief to lesser offenses of disorderly conduct and trespassing. …

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