Class Unity at Junior Prom


Will Sutton

Attendees donned orange ribbons in honor of Andrew Warhaftig; pictured here pinned to the vest of Junior Nick Thompson.

Will Sutton, Photography Editor

When students entered the South Shore Country Club on Friday, May 11, they were met with loud music, sparkling lights, a humble buffet table- everything one would expect from a prom, save a disco ball. But instead of flocking to the dance floor, attendees huddled around a table to their left. They were fastening orange ribbons to their outfits and penning well-wishes and condolences to the family of Junior Andrew Warhaftig, who passed away that Monday after a lifelong battle with kidney disease. Amid the chaotic glamor of prom, students nearly invariably took a brief moment to reflect on the inspiring life of their classmate.

Junior Class President Billy Johnston set the tone of the evening around 7:15 PM, when he took to the dance floor to deliver a brief speech. He urged his classmates to remember Andrew, but to spend the night celebrating in his honor. “This is an opportunity to come together as a class.” he declared.

After Johnston’s speech, the night began to take shape; attendees began to dance, or sample the appetizers and candy bar. “It was a wonderful night.” reflected attending senior Tristan Del Aguila.

Though rightfully eclipsed by reflection at the passing of a classmate, the Junior Prom had been mired in compromise in the weeks leading up to the event. Hingham High Juniors brought an unprecedented amount of guests from other grade levels or schools; according to Junior Class Treasurer James Winikoff, the Junior Executive Board had budgeted space based upon attendance numbers from previous classes. “We thought about 350 people would attend; that number was actually closer to 400,” he explained.

Because of uncommonly high attendance, tickets sold out in two days, with about twenty Hingham High juniors unable to purchase tickets. Within two days of the controversy, the Junior Executive Board arranged for an outdoor tent to be added to the venue, increasing capacity to accomodate all guests.

“I think the tent was great, I spent most of my night in the tent.” asserted Winikoff. He was not alone; though the photographer and candy bar were located in the function room at SSCC, a significant majority of attendees spent the night on the dance floor of the tent. The sizeable population from different grades and schools proved to be a largely positive addition; Del Aguila stated, “I had a lot of fun meeting people from different grades, different schools.”

At 9:50PM, guests gathered to release a cluster of orange-and-green balloons in Andrew’s memory. The orange balloons represented NephCure, an organization dedicated to kidney research that partnered with Andrew to create a fundraising run in Wompatuck State Park. Green, meanwhile, is the color of kidney disease awareness.

Before releasing the balloons, Winikoff, a longtime friend of Andrew, addressed the crowd, specifically thanking his class for showing unity in the face of such tragedy. He then let go of the balloons to muted applause.

As the crowd cleared, he gazed at the bobbing cluster until it disappeared into the darkened sky. When it was lost to the May night, he turned his back and walked into the function room to retrieve his coat. “Felt good to let ‘em go.” he remarked.

The prom ended at 10:00PM. It was a warm night, and, despite some clouds, a few brave stars twinkled in the night sky- perfect, considering the prom’s theme was “A Night Under the Stars”. As guests poured into the parking lot and pulled out of the venue, heading to after-parties, sleepovers, or home, a faint sea breeze signaled the end to a night of revelry and remembrance.