A Closer Look at Prom, Its History and the Impact It Has Had On Students

Photo Courtesy of Billboard.com

Photo Courtesy of Billboard.com

Photo Courtesy of Billboard.com

Reagan Alexander, Staff Writer

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Prom, beginning in the 1800s, came from the term promenade, or the formal parading of guests at a party, according to Bustle.com. This tradition took the United States by storm. Before prom became popular in high schools, it first occurred in colleges in America. Students at these colleges competed with rival schools to have the best prom. Prom has become a big deal today, especially at the high school level. Is it because of the dressing up, the friends, the dates, or just the fun of prom in general?

Lauren Waples, ‘20, says “when you really think about it, prom is based on a social hierarchy, trying to be the ‘queen or ‘king.’ It’s all one huge popularity contest.”

That’s true, people want to look the best, have the most friends, and the most votes. But is that all prom is about? Prom should also be about making long-lasting memories in your last years of high school. These last few years, when you don’t have as many responsibilities, should be a time when you can make mistakes and have a good time. This is what prom should be about; making memories in high school that you can bring with you into the future.

I remember when I was little I dreamed about my prom night; the dress I’d wear, the people I’d be with. It seemed to me like nothing up until that dance mattered. It was the fantasy leading up to the ultimate wedding planning dream that most little girls thought about. I loved it.

It doesn’t mean that much to me now, though. Once you get to high school and realize the strains put on you to be perfect, the allure of school dances fades from view.

But prom shouldn’t be bashed, because it’s come a long way from what used to be. In the late 1900s, there were still school administrators threatening to cancel prom if interracial couples attended. Only a few years ago, a high school cancelled prom instead of letting same sex couples attend, according to time.com. These injustices, for the most part, are no longer present in proms around America. Luckily for us, at Minnetonka, most people are more welcoming and open to any race, status, or sexual orientation.

A few decades back, going to prom dateless would have been social suicide. What used to be seen as totally taboo is now a new trend. Prom is no longer limited to couples. Going with a group of friends, only a few friends, or even alone, is perfectly acceptable. Not everything is based off of the social norms of the mid-90s anymore, and it’s great.

To many underclassmen, prom is a right of passage that they look forward to anxiously. There are others who dread the idea of school dances, and the thought of a dance so seemingly high stakes as prom makes them even more anxious. For many seniors, prom means a lot more. At the end of your senior year, prom is seen as a last hoorah before finals and graduation which are right around the corner.

Leah Gotz, ‘18, says “I’m really excited about prom, spending the night with my junior friends, and having a nice time before graduation.”

Dances can be a lot, but they can also be one of the most memorable nights of your high school lives. I think everyone should try to make it to at least one dance in their time here at Minnetonka. After all, Mr. Erickson wouldn’t give the dances as much hype as he does if they weren’t super rad.

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