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University Press Scholarship Online. Sign in. Not registered? Sign up. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search my Subject Specializations: Select Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Rosnow's Classic Books. Much to our surprise we received more than 5, letters, e-mails and telephone calls supporting our position and congratulating us for the courage to take such a bold stand. Only 19 letters expressed opposition.
Oftentimes tragic personal details of bad prom experiences accompanied the supportive letters. We clearly hit a nerve. Our letter stated the following:.
Affluence changes people. Too much money is not good for the soul. Our young people have too much money. We found that even if the students did not have the money, they would spend excessively any way because, after all, it is the prom. Later in the letter we wrote:.
The excesses surrounding the prom were contrary to the lessons we were teaching our students. But there are two important questions associated with money whose answers are critical: How did you get it? And what are you doing with it? The prom experience revealed a wasteful flaunting of wealth that undermined the dignity of the young people attracted to its siren calls. Four years later, our school community is better off without the prom.
Alcohol is the fear that has borne mandatory post-prom lock-ins and inspired schools to give students breathalyzers at the door. As far as underage boozing is concerned, the idea that high students drink more during prom than any other weekend is the wishful thinking of a P. Drinking is not any more prevalent during prom season; if anything, it is just more conspicuous. Young people would undoubtedly be better served if communities and school systems spread out their programming over the course of the year. In the past, students may have been disciplined for slow-dancing closer than the length of a ruler.
Historically, prom was seen as an evening of social learning. Yes, the prom industry is still relatively recent. Sure, the Sheraton ballroom has replaced the crepe-paper-strewn gymnasium, and prom is no longer the simple tea dance that it was in the early s. Even worse than denying them the sexual embarrassment, bad music and outfit remorse would be robbing them of the great American adult pastime: griping about the insolence of children today.
A prom is a great way to help the youth of America learn to deal with the very real feelings of humiliation, desperation and alienation. Sure, society and the news media have contributed to the idea that high school proms have to be outrageous. And many students, especially in affluent school districts, are more concerned with looking glamorous, having the fanciest limousine and the tony beach house for the after-prom festivities.
I often wonder how this teaches our children to be financially responsible. Still, the prom is a rite of passage and, well, if you can afford it, why not go with all the glitz you can? What is unfortunate is that there are students who just want to celebrate their success and enjoy a night with their classmates, but cannot even afford the price of a ticket.
For low-income students, the prom is more of a dream than a reality. Perhaps schools can take more responsibility to ensure that each student can afford this memorable celebration. Setting limits, like no limos, could help curb how much money is spent. This could benefit those with financial concerns and put the prom within their reach. No matter how elaborate the prom has become, I believe it is an unforgettable event that gives students a chance to celebrate their graduation and say goodbye to friends as they begin a new chapter in their young adult lives.
As rites of passage go, the prom could use a makeover. It is the Goliath of school dances, a ritual that exposes those awful or wonderful and intense themes of high school: popularity, prettiness, wealth or lack thereof. We danced to boy band tunes. They got in trouble for filling up condoms with water and flinging them into tight circles of gyrating girls.
The girls talked for weeks about what we would wear. Everyone showed up in matching tube tops. It was a slightly more grown-up version of what had come before. At the event, we did what we did best: narrated a seething commentary on the more popular girls and their even more popular dates. I was over it. Only in college did I have actual fun at dances. They were called parties, or coffeehouses, and they featured bands and D.
It's been said many times upthread, but apparently needs to keep being said. This article speaks for many of us who are full time and contingent faculty in America. Markets don't act like a single, monolithic, rational human being. There's too many people trying to get into the profession, so if you decide to get out. Low tech subsistence farming just doesn't produce much surplus. I was on food stamps while a student.
I celebrated with friends without pretense or pressure. The prom is a ritual in need of transformation. I would propose a big non-prom party instead, unburdened by excessive expectation. Why not just set simple rules? Something as simple as 1 Prom tickets to be issued free of charge to members of the sponsoring class, expenses paid by fundraising in previous years, 2 Spending guidelines for outfits, and 3 Held in the school gym instead of of a ballroom-connected-to-hotel rooms.
Simple steps would go a long way and allow the kids to celebrate in a less pressured environment. I did not go to my prom for one reason: I did not like most of the people the feelings were mutual and there was no sense in spending my hard-earned money I worked in a drugstore part-time during high school on an evening being with people who I did not like. Thirty years later, I have not been back to one high school reunion and I have absolutely no regrets.
The prom remains a waste of time and money!
I was too poor to even think about a prom. A good jacket was a gift from heaven. Never went to a college dance. I worked and was glad to do so. My wife earned my way mostly since she was a year ahead of me. We rode bikes to college at UT Austin. One couldnt walk up stairs when onother was bathing because the shower leaked on the stairs. I remember the refrigerator we bought replacing an ice box.
The landlady downstairs could no longer complain about the ice box leaking on her kitchen. Prom, who is that. Now I live on my acre tree farm. Not so frugal now but never had a limo. Now my pick up is air conditioned though. It was held at a fancy country club and included an elegant buffet dinner. Kids arrived at the Prom in their own cars, with friends or parents. There were no limos. Most kids opted for the Prom Do as far as dress was concerned, but there was no dress code, no dancing code either.
Strict rules about drinking, smoking and drugs were in place for the dance as for all other school functions. According to all reports, a great time was had by all.
Ban the prom? Certainly not.
What is needed for proms, like every other aspect of the high school experience to be a success, is for a school to have great values and exhibit a warm, caring concern for every student, every day. Fund raising to pay for the venue and low cost prom tickets should be a must. We went as a group out to dinner and then to the dance in the nicer cars belonging to the parents of the guys we went with.
If this is the only life lesson they learn in high school they will be well served. I only went to one of two proms. I just had no desire to ask someone just to go and spend boat loads of money and be subject to scrutiny of others.
High school is a tough but necessarily time to become an adult. I just wish there was another way to learn about how to dress, eat, etc. I you are not paying for it, why object to those who are paying for their pleasures and possibly follies.