Pa. School for the Deaf to host first-ever on-campus prom with a “Hollywood” twist

Students at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf will be rolling out the red carpet for their prom tomorrow.

The PSD’s prom theme this year is “Hollywood,” and students and staff are similarly excited for the event, the first to be held on the school’s Germantown campus.

Unlike archetypal high school prom offerings, where separate events are held for junior and senior classes, the intimate size of the PSD necessitates a departure from traditional grade delineations.

‘Not your typical prom size’

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PSD alumnus Jesse Thomas is a teacher of history and government at PSD, and is junior class sponsor at the school.

He explained that at deaf schools, which are generally too small to hold separate proms, the junior class traditionally hosts the prom which the entire high school goes to. He expects approximately 40 to 60 people at the prom, which he suggests, “is not your typical prom size.”

But, with 12 seniors at PSD, it’s not a bad expectation for turnout. These figures will be enhanced by the presence of numerous staff, including three senior class sponsors.

First prom on campus 

PSD was founded in 1820 in Philadelphia, and is the third oldest school of its kind in the United States, according to the school’s website. In 1892, PSD moved to Mt. Airy, where it resided until 1984, when declining enrollment and other economic factors prefigured a move to its current location on the former site of the Germantown Academy.

At present, approximately 200 students are enrolled, according to Ruth Cella, director of Development and Public Relations at the school. The non-residential, co-ed school provides a traditional K-12 curriculum, and also offers preschool and education programs for those as old as 21.

Cella told Newsworks that the prom will be held in the new Maguire Student Center, which had its formal ribbon-cutting ceremony in April. The $3.9 million building totals 11,000 square feet, almost half of which is new space. The remainder consists of renovations to an existing campus building, which dates to the Revolutionary War.

As previous proms have been held away from the school, Cella referenced the enthusiasm surrounding the first-ever on-campus prom.

“It’s a really special way to christen the new facility,” she said. It also has the campus abuzz.

“The students are thrilled,” she said. “They’re excited to have it for the first time on campus.”

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