Prom: More than a dance |

Prom: More than a dance

Kelly Hagenah
NWS Prom1 SM 4-10

GYPSUM – Everyone has a prom story – the salad dressing that stained your dress before the dance; the nerdy date your mom made you accept; the dream date who your dad didn’t want to take you out; the dash to get from a sweaty track meet to the elegant prom. Tonight, the students of Eagle Valley High School will create their own stories, as they pack themselves into limos, hummers, first cars and mom’s minivan, and head on up to Donovan Pavilion. The theme this year, “The Way You Look Tonight,” is based on the “Golden Era of Hollywood,” said Jen Wright, teacher and prom coordinator. While prom is a tradition at many high schools across the nation, Eagle Valley’s “promenade” is unique. The promenade, which occurs before the dance, is like the famous walk down the red carpet at the Oscars. Students get to strut their stuff and “see and be seen” before the main event, generating excitement for the night to come. Families and the community are invited to attend at the high school auditorium. Afterwards, the usual routine kicks in, and the students head off in different directions with their “prom groups,” to go to dinner or even a pre-party.

So what is prom like? The actual event hasn’t changed over the decades. It’s still held in some big ballroom, pavilion or gym; it’s still decorated as only prom can be with pillars and polyester-covered tables. Students still take pictures with their arms wrapped around each other, some kid still wears a baseball cap thinking he’s standing out, and a hired DJ or band still plays everything from the newest hip hop bump and grind, to the classic “Electric Slide,” “We Are Family” and “Brick House.”But one thing that has changed is the way students, schools and parents, are handling prom. Between dresses, prepping, limos, dinner and after-parties, students often spend thousands of dollars on the event. Some schools even cancel prom, citing a “lack of respect” for the event. In some communities, parents are hiring “prom consultants,” renting private homes, and even buying their daughters designer dresses seen on actresses at the Academy Awards. One problem is underage drinking, something most schools know they are bound to have, especially with seniors nearing graduation. In an effort to curb underage drinking on prom night, and to keep students safe after prom, Eagle Valley High School officials have taken steps of their own by insisting students take breathalyzer tests at the entrance to prom. And, for the first time, the parents will host an “After-Prom” party for students from midnight until 5 a.m.”(Principal) Mark Strakbein and I are very passionate about student safety. We wanted a safe and fun environment for the students to enjoy,” said Wright. As for the students thoughts on all of this? “These are times with friends who we won’t see very often soon,” said senior Charlee House. “Drinking might sound like fun, but why do something that risks losing memories?”

Another reason schools across the country have canceled proms involves the expense. While several girls agreed there is pressure regarding appearance at prom, the majority of them seemed confident with their spending limits. “I’m getting my hair done, and that’s about it,” said Mary Cochrane, a junior on the prom committee. Aside from hair, the other steps in “prepping” are as simple as manicures, and maybe some spray-on tans. “Prom isn’t that big of a deal. Be you, not fake,” said senior Hanna Nelson. “Prom is a huge part of high school, I can’t imagine not having it.”It’s exciting, but it’s scary because it means it is almost over.”

After looking and looking, and then some more looking, you finally find it. That perfect dress. It’s beautiful, it’s exactly what you wanted, it fits just right, it’s you. And you swear you will love it forever.Flash forward a few years down the road … you haven’t worn it since the night that marked high school graduation was right around the corner.Eagle Valley High School senior Callie Magdziuk has hopes to keep her dress. “It’s my senior prom dress, and it would be cool to show it to my daughter someday,” she says. “But in reality, it will probably end up on eBay. Go figure.”While eBay is a way to make a profit off a forgotten item, there are also other ways to get rid of that dress. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed their community, a Mississippi high school was told there would be no prom due to the expenses. But thanks to five girls from Brainerd, Minn., the Long Beach High School Prom will go on. The girls have collected over 400 donated prom dresses, and have also raised over $1,700 to help hire the band, pay for prom decorations and food.A senior can also sell her old dress to a consignment store, such as The Thrifty Shoppes in Edwards and Eagle, where they will re-sell it at a much lower cost, also helping those less fortunate. Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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