Picture this. Elegant ladies are swirling about in fashionable gowns. Men are dressed to the nines; they are a sea of well-mannered penguins in their tuxedos. The room is romantically lit, the music is tasteful, and the food is divine.
While the majority of students at Woodland Park High School (WPHS) would enjoy such an event, unfortunately, it is not a reality in the year 2014. Instead, we have reverberating beats, irresponsible decisions, and dirty dancing. Something has happened to “Prom.”
“I won’t put down all the participants,” says Drew Bealby, one of many non-conformers choosing to forgo Prom. “There are plenty who respectfully dance and have a great time, but our generation’s idea of ‘dancing’ is total rubbish and should come with an XXX warning. They are grinding and sweating all over each other. It’s just an atmosphere of pressure to be sexually active.”
Aside from the somewhat perverse atmosphere, the subsequent complaint offered by WPHS students focuses on the concept of Prom Royalty. “It’s a worthless concept,” remarks Owen Spalding, a senior this year. “Popularity in high school gets you nowhere in real life.”
Even students who plan to attend seem to be bothered by the tradition. Emily Ratzlaff, who will be going to Prom for the second time this year, explains, “I don’t really like the whole royalty concept. I don’t think it should continue to be incorporated unless there were more awards, such as acknowledging the people who spent time setting up the dance.”
Despite the critiques, there are some undeniably awesome things about Prom. “Prom is made out to be so ‘magical’ and ‘the greatest and most fun night in high school,’” comments Vicky Chen, a junior. “My Senior Prom is the only high school dance I plan to attend. Although I’m super jealous that this year’s Prom is a Masquerade, my dream theme, I think going to Prom once, during my senior year, makes it more special. I think that if I were to go to Prom more than once, it would become less special each time.”
Surprisingly, thoughts on the issue of funding seem to be inverted between the junior and senior class. Traditionally, the junior class has had to purchase tickets for a price between forty-five and fifty-five dollars in order to facilitate a free Prom for the senior class. “I think it’s pretty fair,” remarks Chen. “I’m all about seniority having a blast and they deserve it.”
Senior Owen Spalding, on the other hand, states, “It’s not fair at all. Not for either party. Juniors have the burden of putting other people above themselves; seniors have to hope that the juniors are responsible enough to put on a good dance.”
Perhaps Prom is not as romantic as it once was, but it does not make the evening less special or memorable. Prom can be a night of teenage dreams or one of melodramatic nightmares. Ultimately, it falls in the hands of the students. When it comes to what we will choose…well, that is what makes Prom a mystery.