Special Berkeley senior celebrates prom and plans graduation

Stephanie Hill and her boyfriend, Evan Hammond, at Old Santee Canal Park before her prom on April 21.

Senior year is winding down, and with that comes a very hectic calendar.

Berkeley High School senior Stephanie Hill — Steffi to her friends — has less than a month until her graduation, and she’s caught up in all the activity.

Two proms. Senior picnic. Senior video. Ice- cream social. Graduation parties. Cap and gown photos. It’s a busy, busy time.

April ended for Steffi with two weekends of prom partying with her best friend, Kristen Cario, long-term boyfriend, Evan Hammond, and a big group of their friends.

On April 21, they went to Berkeley High School’s prom, and the following week, St. John’s Christian Academy’s.

Steffi and Kristen started that day with a trip to a Charleston salon to get their hair styled, then went to Steffi’s house to dress for their big night.

Several members of the group met at the Hill residence, and from there, they went over to Old Santee Canal Park to take photos, jockeying for space with two other prom groups and a wedding.

From there, the teens caravaned in SUVs to Queen Anne’s Revenge on Daniel Island, where their group dined before heading to the dance at the Charleston Air Force Base.

Afterward, the kids headed to a rented Folly Beach house for the weekend. Steffi’s mom and stepdad, Margaret and Joey Hill, chaperoned the event, and her stepbrother, Zach Hill, also a senior at Berkeley, and his group of friends stayed there.

The group didn’t get much sleep, though. “We just hung out,” she said. “We didn’t go to bed till like 4 in the morning, but we were just hanging out and talking and stuff.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a weekend to be at the beach. It rained all day Sunday and was cold Monday. During those moments when the rain let up, they played half-rubber on the beach, but there wasn’t much tanning going on.

After an early morning cleanup Monday, the kids headed back to Moncks Corner.

“When we got back and unpacked on Monday, I took a two-hour nap,” Steffi said. “I was exhausted.”

Last weekend, she got to do it all again as Evan’s date for his St. John’s prom. Although the rest of the group went to the beach house on Friday, the prom festivities started early for Steffi and Kristen, who were members of Berkeley High School’s student government team in the town’s Relay for Life event.

They spent Friday afternoon helping set up and participated in the event Friday night, then headed to the beach Saturday to celebrate the prom.

Life hasn’t been all about celebrating, though. First, Steffi has to finish high school, which includes exams in many of her dual credit and Advanced Placement classes. She had her sociology exam last week and is preparing for her AP Calculus exam in a couple of weeks.

“I’m extremely nervous about that,” she said. “The whole class is struggling because we know the material, but the way the questions are asked is confusing. I’ve got to keep practicing with that.”

She is also preparing for the future. She is signed up for a session of Clemson University’s freshman orientation in June, and like many other seniors, Steffi and Zach are planning their graduation party.

Seniors are checking with each other as they select dates around their June 1 graduation for celebrations with families and friends. It will be a week or more of partying as they hop from party to party. Steffi and Zach will have a drop-in at their house the day after graduation.

“I know we all want to be able to go to everybody else’s parties, so we’re trying not to have them at the same time,” she said.