On May 11, the Chicago Public Schools ( CPS ) held "Candyland 2018," its seventh annual prom for LGBTQA students, at Lindbloom High School, 6130 S. Wolcott Ave.
This year's event was the first held on the South Side, with many students bused in from other areas ( thanks to a grant, according to event co-founder Noa Padowitz ). Precious Brady Davis hosted the festivities, with entertainment from female impersonator Khloe, music courtesy of DJ Jennefa, a dinner reception, prom cake, and the traditional crowning of the king and queen of the prom ( Schurz High School's Jovanny Hernandez and Carlos Galvan, respectively ).
Padowitz, who is also dean of students and community for CPS, said she was amazed at how the event has grown in seven years. "The first prom was held at [Ford] Power House [High School], which doesn't event exist anymore, in 2012. We thought we were doing it as a one-off, but we got so many emails asking, 'When is the next one?'" She also said, "This event takes a lot of fundraising; every ticket sold is subsidized. Still, we don't want to turn students away."
Among the participating high schools this year were Roberto Clemente High School, Pheonix Military Academy, Sullivan High School, Roosevelt High School, Lake View High School, Lane Technical High School and Northside College Preparatory High School. Organizations who presented in the tabling section of the prom included The Youth Empowerment Performance Project and Planned Parenthood.
When asked about the importance of the event, Padowitz said, "We want the students to meet other students from all over the city, and to get them linked up with supportive organizations. As long as we do this, our goal is to not be needed."