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$695 crown will go to Carroll prom queen's head

SOUTHLAKE -- This year, Carroll's prom queen will get more than just the title.

The lucky girl chosen to lead Carroll Senior High School's prom court will be honored Saturday night with a handcrafted sterling silver tiara, studded with freshwater rose pearls and Swarovksi crystals. The tiara, worth $695, will be hers to keep -- all part of an exclusive agreement with New York-based jewelry company Bailey Banks & Biddle.

At high schools in Tarrant County, prom committees typically buy costume headgear from discount stores, party supply outlets or prom suppliers.

In previous years, the Carroll senior class spent about $30 on a rhinestone-studded tiara from a catalog, said Marsha Gray, a Carroll Senior High history teacher who is the senior class sponsor. This year's prom king's crown, a puffy green velvet hat with faux fur, cost $45.

This is the second year that the prom queen will take home an heirloom headpiece from Bailey Banks & Biddle. Last June, after awarding the 2007 prom crown, the company asked the Carroll school board to name it the exclusive provider of the prom tiara for 2008 and 2009. The jewelers will choose a different style each year. This year's tiara was made by high-end bridal designer Tacori.

The jewelry company, which has a Southlake store, in April agreed to pay $14,540 to renew an advertising and promotional agreement with the school district for one year. The deal gives the company sponsorship rights that include advertising at Dragon Stadium and on the district's Web site.

Seniors voted for four boys and four girls about a month ago for prom royalty. About 740 students are expected to gather for dinner and dancing at the Hyatt Regency DFW, decorated to represent small towns in Italy. The prom theme is Bella Sera, beautiful evening.

At about 11 p.m., the music will stop for a drum roll and the king and queen coronation. The pair will share a dance, Gray said.

Carroll's crown will stand out. The Arlington high schools often get crowns and tiaras from Stumps. The Indiana prom supply company sells rhinestone tiaras on metal frames for as much as $56, plus a $10 white satin and lace pillow to present them on.

Grapevine High School this year bought a $47 tiara and a $38 king's crown from Stumps. Colleyville Heritage High School's crowns for prom king and queen were bought for $20 total from a party supply store, a district spokeswoman said.

Northwest High School buys prom items from Allens Crowns, which sells rhinestone tiaras ranging from $4.30 to $27.50, and crowns that can cost more than $100, according to its Web site.

Some prom courts don't get crowns at all, and some high schools, like Keller, don't even name prom royalty.

Haltom High School senior Emily Rogers got a certificate when she was named prom queen on May 3.

"It was a fun night," said Rogers, 17, of Fort Worth. "Just having the honor of people voting for me was enough. The crown, to me, it can be over the top. I didn't need it. To have the whole senior class vote for one person is a big deal."