Prom-Night Memories Linger for Elected Officials


(Monday, April 30, 2007 5:01 AM EDT)

As much as civic activists may sometimes doubt it, Arlington's elected officials are people, too. Their prom-night memories tend to mirror those of the population as a whole - some cherished, others they might wish to forget.

When asked by the Sun Gazette, here is what Arlington's County Board members had to say about their own prom nights.

Chairman Paul Ferguson: Ferguson is the only one of the five County Board members who grew up in Arlington. He attended Wakefield High School, which held its senior prom at the Crystal City Hyatt in 1983 - a year Ferguson remembers as being a low point in the world of music.

He recalls riding the hotel's glass elevators a couple times with his date and dancing to Journey, Rick James and AC/DC (the band, not the Arlington County Democratic Committee).

“I did have fun, but, like a lot of things that are hyped up, it was hard for it to meet the expectations,” Ferguson said. “I was also a little sad to be leaving high school . . . I always have a little sadness when I have to transition.”

And who of his fellow board members did he think had the most fun at his or her prom?

“I would have to say Barbara Favola,” he said. “Although I didn't know Barbara in high school, nor do I have stories from her high school days, I can see her being an organizer, someone who made sure everybody else was having a good time.”

Vice Chairman Walter Tejada: Tejada went to senior prom at Trenton Central High School in New Jersey “some time back” (he didn't want to share the exact year). But he only stayed at the event for about an hour, because he had another party to get to.

“For me, it was different because my family moved out of New York City [to Trenton] in the middle of my senior year,” he said. “So, I only went to prom briefly and then went to a private party with people I had gotten to know.”

Tejada and his prom-night date, who was a friend of his, danced the night away to the musical stylings of a Latin band.

Tejada's choice for board member who had the most fun at prom is Jay Fisette.

“I would say Jay,” he said. “Jay's a fun guy.”

County Board member Jay Fisette: Fisette, who went to Peters Township High School outside Pittsburgh, attended both a junior and senior prom.

As junior-class president, he organized the whole event in the spring of 1973. Thinking back on his senior prom in 1974, Fisette said he does not remember too much about the night, but that he had a good time with his date, Dawn.

“I think she and I are both in long-term relationships with guys now,” he said with a smile in a recent interview.

His pick for County Board member who had the most fun at prom: Tejada.

“There's a fun-loving side of Walter, that I could see him being the center of attention,” Fisette said. “He'd be animated and he's a very accomplished dancer.” (Indeed, Tejada made it to the finals of last year's “Dancing With the Arlington Stars” competition.)

Chris Zimmerman: Zimmerman did not attend his senior prom, but has had the chance to watch his children go to theirs at Wakefield High School.

Barbara Favola: Favola attended senior prom at Windsor Locks High School in Windsor Locks, Conn., in 1973, and was a force behind the scenes in the election of prom queen.

“I organized for two tables to vote for my friend to be prom queen, and she won,” Favola said. “My organizational skills came out at that early age.”

Favola shared that her dress had an empire waist and was off-white with fuchia trim around the sleeves.

Favola said she thinks Ferguson probably had the most fun at prom because “Paul's a fun guy. He always has a good time when he socializes.”

Favola will get to re-live prom all over again this June, when her son, Donald Patrick Weik, attends Washington-Lee High School's senior prom.

“It's such a milestone and it gives you a lot of pride,” she said. “He's growing up and he's got years of interesting times ahead of him. I'm looking forward to being part of his early adulthood experience.”

County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson (top) attended his senior prom in 1983. In 1974, board member Jay Fisette went to his prom.
(Photos courtesy board members)

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