The following revisitation presents an original submission from The Forest Scout by Paul Hanson. Then, Sarah Kuetemeyer offers her own take on Prom’s importance in 2017.
Hanson Debates Importance Of Senior Prom (archived: The Forest Scout ’97)
Springtime. It’s famous for many things. This year will be no different. Maybe it’s by chance, or maybe it’s caused by some strange alignment of Jupiter with Earth, but it seems numerous events of importance occur this time each year. These events include the coming of the taxman, an ancient American ritual similar in effect to the self-mutilation of Middle-Eastern Indian chieftains. The opening day of our national pastime, to which we all feel so close, also takes place during this season. Both of these have a severe impact on the lives of this nation, but nothing like the impact of the single most most important event of high school during the spring season: Prom. That sounds really cynical, but several kids probably think along those lines.
I’m not saying that prom is a bad thing. As a matter of fact, I have nothing against it; I’m glad I get to finally go to this dance for the upperclassmen. But I can’t really remember what I was doing the past two years on that weekend. I know that’s not the case for some people, but I really couldn’t have cared less about not going. It was just a normal boring weekend around the house – not a big deal as far as I was concerned. There were still cartoons Saturday morning and life went on as usual. I think just about any normal teenager could handle that. Or can they?
I hope that everybody realizes that a dance is just a dance. National secrets aren’t being divulged at prom which would affect you in such a manner that your absence would alter your life for eternity. At least I don’t think so. Maybe there are some State Department debriefers sitting around at prom passing out top secret files just so the kids who went to prom will succeed the rest of their lifes, knowing all about the U.S. government’s plans for the next forty years.
According to most people, prom is tremendously overrated. This probably isn’t any consolation to those who aren’t going and wish they were, but don’t worry, the Smurfs are still going to be there Saturday morning. That probably seems pretty rude and insensitive, but I’m trying to get across the fact that prom has no bearing on your life except for the span of a few hours. Most of the fun is just being dressed up in Chicago with your friends, which you can do anytime if it’s that important to you.
Another fact is that the post-prom parties constitute a major part of prom night. If you aren’t going to the dance, and want to experience an equivalent situation to your peers, just start your own post-prom party. You can even start yours a little earlier.
I’m not trying to tell you what to do with your life, either. I have heard some horror stories of people sitting at home feeling totally dejected and bummed out which they have no right to feel like, and I basically want to cheer them up.
For those who are going to prom and have actually read this far, I hope you aren’t expecting a miracle on May 11. It’s possible to have a really great time, but you aren’t going to see a bright light at the end of a tunnel. If you do, your mandatory bus took a wrong turn somewhere.
I honestly am looking forward to this. I’m not really sure what to expect, but it surely isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. I am sure that I’ll have a super time because I always do when I go out with my friends. If you’re the same type of person with a similar group of friends, you should know that when you’re with them, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are; you’ll have a blast without fail.
I think that’s basically what prom is: the congregation of friends under less than normal conditions.
Although the Forest Scout’s reputation has recently become more popular, the school newspaper used to have a much bigger role in impacting student life in the past. The article above was written by a student, Paul Hanson, in 1997. With this article being written 20 years ago, a lot has changed and my view point of Prom, especially as a girl, is much different than his. Hanson’s main point in his article is that going to Prom isn’t going to change your life and, after all, it’s nothing special. Although Prom won’t change your life–that much I can assure you–I think that going to your high school Prom is more than special and it could be one of the best nights of your life. While nothing monumentally life-changing may occur at Prom, it can be considered a milestone as you end your four years in high school. There may not be any top-secrets that are shared at, but if you want to miss out on a fun experience than that would be all on you.
I’m sure for as long as you can remember, you’ve heard about Prom and for most little girls, it appears as though you become a princess for a night. I remember watching movies with Prom scenes in them and just thinking about the day that I would be able to go once I was old enough. Even though our school isn’t known for having the over-the-top puffy dresses, our Prom, in a way, is more sophisticated and elegant than most Proms around the country are. Not only do we get to take coach buses, but the community involvement in order to make our Prom the best it can be is unlike any other school.
While young boys may not have the same dream as many little girls, once you do get to high school, Prom becomes some sort of a rite of passage to leaving high school. Prom is not something you have to go to, but I think that all kids should want to go to have that experience. If you don’t go, you’ll look back on it and wish you went because you missed out on a huge school event that almost the entire upperclassmen student body enjoys. In the future, you’ll want to tell your kids about high school and you won’t be able to tell them that you went to your school’s prom all because you “didn’t feel like it” or you “didn’t think you would have any fun.”
For all of the seniors, this is one of the very last things you will do together as a grade before graduation. After the day of graduation, you will most likely lose all contact with the people in your class except for your small group of friends. Many of these people you may not see until the next summer, or maybe ever again. Going to prom should be something special that you want to experience, and to enjoy these last few days with the people that have watched you grow up from preschool age.
Whether or not you like to be involved in the social scene, Prom is fun no matter what. Not only do you get to get dressed up very fancy, but the food is actually good and if you embrace the somewhat strange music you will definitely be sweating on the dance floor. If you go into Prom thinking it’s not going to be fun–or even special for that matter–then of course you’ll have a bad time. In reality, though, I don’t know a single person that doesn’t have fun at Prom.
In 20 years you’ll look back at your high school experience and even if Prom isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind, you will always have the memory of going and being apart of something special before you made your exit out of your high school experience.