by Dr. Kenneth P. Graham
Members of Section United Methodist Church took a different approach to the local Senior Prom and the festivities that surround the annual event. On Friday night, March 27 the church hosted an elegant dinner for high school seniors. Seventy students attended the event held in the fellowship hall of Section United Methodist Church.
It all began with several members of the church discussing the expense of prom attendance, the danger of traveling to another city for dinner and the conflict some students and thier dates would experience because both Section High School and nearby Scottsboro High School were holding proms on the same Saturday night. The group decided having a dinner on Friday night would allow the students to attend both proms.
Kendra Robbins, teacher and Senior sponsor for Section High School offered the students a voluntary sign up sheet to attend the dinner. She expected a little interest in the dinner from the class of 64 students. However on March 27, 70 students attended the dinner dressed in semi-formal attire.
Ladies of the Section United Methodist Women along with many others in the church planned a menu, assigned the cooking, recruited the waitresses and Matere’ De and decorated the fellowship hall. Each table was set with formal dinnerware complete with a candle in the center adorned with greenery for accent. Dinner music was provided by Mrs. Gleta Linville of Section.
Clayton Grider, Youth Minister of the Scottsboro First United Methodist Church was the speaker for the evening. In his short message Grider challenged the students to set their goals, reach for those goals and strive to accomplish them.
Section UMC pastor, Dr. Kenneth Graham, stated that the purpose behind the ladies ideas was three fold.
One of the main motivators was to assist in the economic struggle that many local families are experienceing today. The cost of prom and the traditional meals might have prohibited some students from enjoying the event.
Another major concern of all the planners was the safety of the students as they travel to and from another town for dinner. Most students had plans to go to Huntsville, Gadsden, Guntersville or Chattanooga for dinner. Not only would this trip cost a great deal but would subject the students to the dangers of travel.
Finally, the church also wanted the students to have the opportunity to attend two proms in one night.
The solution for all three concerns was simple -- host a dinner.
According to Kendra Robbins and Dr. Graham this is the first of what will become an annual event sponsored by the Section UMC. The response from the people of the church, the students and the community was extremely positive. Even the local paper highlighted the event. This positive response makes planning for next year much easier.