Adrien Hanes • Courtesy Photo of Rusty Strait

Just when you think you’ve seen and heard everything, something pops up out of nowhere to prove you wrong. That happened to me when I talked to a young man Monday afternoon, a senior graduating from Tahquitz High School in Hemet. His name is Adrien Hanes, an eighteen-year-old from Hemet.

As we all know during the past year, just about everything worthwhile has been shut down due to the COVID 19 pandemic. And that includes all local Senior Proms for last year and this year coming up.

Adrien, the upcoming genius that he is, decided to do something about it. With the assistance of his girlfriend, Marlene Valesco, he set out on a mission to correct the inconvenience. Believe this: He is producing his own Senior Prom for all local graduates in the past two years.

He reasons, “Why should we be deprived of one of the great blessings of graduation?”

And right he is. After 12 years of El-Hi, the senior prom is the cherry on top of the education that precedes adulthood, higher education and entering the workforce. It is an opportunity to dress and do it up, Vanilla, if you will, including tux, gowns, limos and no curfew. Every kid who manages to rid him or herself of the shackles of childhood and reaching out to the world as an adult. Prom night is the gateway to the future.

“I want to include all the high schools in the local area, Hemet, West Valley, Tahquitz, Academy of Intervention as well as San Jacinto and any I might not think of right now. It is our chance to celebrate and we should have the right to one of the most-remembered nights of our lives.”

What he had in mind soon exploded into something much larger than a backyard experience. He began to scrape and forage for a place to hold his big event and finally called Jesse Vivanco at the Wheelhouse Skate House, which can house several hundred for such an event. “We are nowhere near that number right now, but word is spreading.”

He has created a flyer that gives all the details, a copy of which accompanies this article. The date is Friday, May 21st, from eight to midnight. He is asking $25 per ticket and will probably need financial help. The evening will include music, food, a photo booth, desserts and more.

To say this young man isn’t headed for adulthood the right way would be a misnomer. If famous rock bands can start out in a garage, imagine what his mentality could accomplish as an adult. He is a young man on a mission and should not be ignored. Remember one thing for sure. Young people like him will be running our community one day and we should support them.

He’s seeking donations toward the rental and putting on the event, so this is a good time for some local philanthropies and corporations who like to support good causes to step up for a something worthy of their investment. Anyone interested in helping finance this enterprise can get in touch with this reporter or call the Wheelhouse at 951-334-8782 or Adrien Hanes at 951-350-9474.

This reporter is not in the habit of tooting horns, but this sounds like something someone would like to support.

Just sayin’

Rusty Strait • Senior Reporter

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