Monday, May 4, 2020

The New Way of Proms

Teenagers, Prom, Formal, Young, Fashion
Unfortunately, with the coronavirus still quite active, life has changed and could remain changed for the rest of the year and possibly into 2021.  The governor closed down all schools, shifting them from being held in buildings to being done via the internet.   He made this rule go to the end of the school year, which means proms and graduation cannot be held as normal.  Around here, the junior class is responsible for earning money to host the prom at school.  It is usually held in the cafeteria or the gym depending on the school.

The proms we have today, are quite different from the original ones.  The term "Prom" is short for promenade or a short formal parade of guests as they enter.  This started back in the 19th centuries in the Northeast when graduating seniors entered coeducational banquets held in their honor at colleges as a way of teaching them manners and recognizing their upcoming graduation. Researchers have found references to Proms dating back to 1879.  Furthermore, colleges often held proms as part of a dance and dinner,

Eventually younger high school students wanted to do the same thing so they soon held them for their graduations.  High schools proms were often held in gyms decorated with crepe paper.  Every dressed up in their best clothings, enjoyed a light meal, and spent the evening dancing to music while being watched by chaperones.  By the 1930's and 40's most proms provided real dinners, bands, and entertainment.

Then after the war with a growing economy, high schools soon held proms in hotels or country clubs.  Proms were so popular that President John F. Kennedy rescheduled his $1,000 a plate fundraiser booked at the Beverly Hilton so the prom scheduled there at the same time could be held. Then in 1975, President Ford allowed Susan's high school to hold their prom in the White House while he was in office.  It is important to note, that proms have always undergone growing pains as societal views have changed over time.  Often proms are the last to make changes such as when interracial dating became more normal. 

Now most high schools have to figure out how to handle the issue of schools being closed and rules that limit the number of attendees to any event.  Where I am, the junior class had already ordered the prom decorations when school closed.  So the teacher in charge of the juniors decided to have both a virtual prom on the actual day and then plans to have an unperson one later in the year.  For the virtual one, she arranged for a special snap chat filter to be there from 5 to 12:00 this past Saturday night.  The radio station agreed to play music for the prom from 9:00 to midnight so students could still have a prom.

She asked them to send their pictures to her so she and I will spend this week turning those photos into a memory book we will send out both in digital form and in hard copy.  She has a color printer.  Then on Monday May 11th, we can pass out the hard copies when students come by to pick up their weekly packet of work.  

We know this is to the same as attending the prom in person but it is what we can do.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great week. 

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