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Before The Dance: A High Schooler’s Take On Prom

by Carissa Fortin

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]Prom. Homecoming. Call it what you will. Call it what you want. It’s all the same.  It’s a night to remember. For seniors all over the world, Prom is the last social gathering before they spread their wings and separate from their friends to go to different schools. It’s the last event they have before they graduate to celebrate. The girls go out and buy the fanciest frocks and the boys suit up.

There are even different themes. Themes like Casino Night, Under The Sea, Masquerade, Hollyworld and so many others. Those who don’t want a theme can go with a color scheme. You get dresses in all different colors and styles. You can style your hair and nails in a variety of ways. You can even do your makeup in a variety of ways.

But what does prom really mean? The definition for it is this:

prom, präm/, noun, informal

  1. NORTH AMERICAN:  a formal dance, especially one held by a class in high school or college at the end of a year.

Why is this tradition so important to teenagers, you might ask? Well, in my opinion, I feel that it doesn’t matter how much you spend on this magical and wonderful night, but how you spend it. Being a member of my school’s Prom Committee, I got to really thinking. I wondered and still wonder why so many people are so dramatic when it comes to things like wearing the same dress.

In the olden days, it didn’t matter. Late in the 19th century, it wasn’t yet a dance for high schoolers. It started as an event for college students. It was only in the 1920s, that white high schools began to introduce proms to their teenage students.

So what does prom really mean? Is it about all the money that we spend? Or is there a deeper reason that teens put so much focus on this singular event? What is it about this event that causes teenagers to go crazy about their appearance?

Maybe it’s the idea of wanting to look like a celebrity. For others, it’s about making the memories last. I was shocked to learn about the history of prom. When the idea of “PROM” was created, they only had it at white high schools, universities and colleges. The couples were also same – sex couples.

Things have a long way since the 1900’s. To many teens, “PROM” is the epitome of the perfect night. This means having the perfect outfit, ride, date and going to the right party. Here are some startling facts about Prom from the website

  • More than 90% of teens believe their fellow classmates will likely drink and drive on prom night.
  • Only 29% believe that driving on prom night comes with a high degree of danger.
  • 36% of teens said their parents have allowed them to attend parties where alcohol was present and available.
  • 14% of teens say their parents have hosted teen gatherings with alcohol, violating Pennsylvania’s law regarding Social Host liability.
  • 54% of students drink more than 4 drinks on prom night.

This celebration began as a way to teach teens how to be responsible.  I know that I personally will be as responsible as I can be. I booked all my appointments ahead of time. I’m excited to see what will happen at Prom.

This is your favorite student writer, signing off. Over and Out!