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Post prom heads to Dells
MONROE - What better way for Monroe high-schoolers to end prom than to continue the party overnight at an indoor amusement park?

A committee of parents has been exploring new ideas for this year's post prom - usually held at Stateline Ice & Community Expo in Monroe - and settled on a chaperoned trip to Knuckleheads in Wisconsin Dells.

The Monroe school board unanimously approved the change in venue at a board meeting last month. Members Amy Bazley, Les Bieneman and Scott Schmidt were absent.

Jennifer Neuenschwander, representing the parent committee, said members started considering alternatives after hearing another group was looking to use SLICE on April 30, the same night as prom. She said the committee then surveyed Monroe High School juniors and seniors, who "overwhelmingly" supported going somewhere other than SLICE.

"Really what the post-prom committee is doing is just providing a safe environment for those kids to just kind of have a nice night filled with great, wonderful memories," Neuenschwander told the school board.

The indoor amusement park includes trampolines, bowling lanes, an arcade and more.

Part of the reason this post prom will be safer than previous years, according to organizers, is because students won't be able to leave the dance early only to show up later at the party. Instead, they will have to stay for the entire dance and then change out of their formal wear at the school if they want to go to Knuckleheads.

Students won't be allowed to drive themselves to the after-party or even walk from the school to their cars before loading the buses. Their formal clothes and other belongings will be stored in the locked school overnight.

After changing, students and chaperones will start loading the buses at 11 p.m. and arrive in the Dells at about 1:30 a.m., where they will have the Knuckleheads facility all to themselves until 4:30 a.m., Neuenschwander said. They are expected to get back to Monroe by about 6 a.m.

Neuenschwander emphasized that students will be supervised throughout the evening - at the dance, while preparing to leave, on the buses and at Knuckleheads.

In previous years, post prom has drawn roughly 300 students, she said. She expects the number to be slightly lower this year because of the change, but there's no minimum number of students needed for the trip to happen. The post-prom committee hopes to enlist 15 to 20 chaperones.

Neuenschwander said the committee has received several community donations so far and intends to continue fundraising to lower the price further. The cost is currently $28 per ticket, compared to $6 last year, and includes pizza provided by Knuckleheads.

Students and their parents will have to sign an agreement through the school district, as well as two waiver forms from Knuckleheads, before they can buy tickets.

School board president Bob Erb thanked the post-prom organizers before calling for the vote.

"This is another one of those hard, thankless jobs, so I can relate," he said. "But I appreciate you guys putting a lot of thought into this, checking it out, worrying about safety for the kids, worrying about them having a good time, something different to kind of keep them engaged and have a fun year, because ... certainly not everybody gets that."