A Night in Paris


Joseph Valenzo, Staff writer

The story of prom and the traditions that have come with it are not widely known, even though the dance is one of the most popular events high school seniors look forward to. From its origins of social gatherings for the rich to a dance that high schoolers know far and wide, it’s hard to encapsulate the entire dance in just a few paragraphs.

The history of prom is strange, yet it dates back not just decades, but over a century of parties. One of the best examples is how prom got its name. Its origins date back to the late 1800s, with the word being short for “promenade”, a formal social gathering or party. This was popular amongst the highly educated, and popped up in Ivy League colleges before it trickled down to high schools and other colleges. It has shot up in more recent times due to movies like “Mean Girls” and “She’s All That,” making it ever more popular—or dreaded—by the senior class. 

Years go on and so do graduating classes, meaning the theme for prom each year changes as well. This year’s theme is A Night In Paris, a more formal and romantic version of prom that keeps up with its past roots and origins. “We try to make it suit the class’s personality while also making it accessible to everyone in the class,” said Mrs. Schiffhauer, the teacher organizing the prom. 

It was at the time of planning that the theme was chosen, and the theme is picked so that it isn’t recently done for variety’s sake. It takes time to plan prom. “We start planning the year before, taking almost a year to prepare,” Mrs. Schiffhauer said. Prom is typically a way to end the year on a high note—to go out for one more formal dance with a partner or friends, and this year is no exception. With the graduating class of 2023 having weathered COVID-19 at the end of their freshman year, this year is the first time to feel free. 

           “To me, prom is a night out. I get to take my girlfriend out on a more formal date,” senior Devon Hapeman said. Date or not, the dance is about one last send-off before graduation; one more time to enjoy high school before graduation. “I like [the theme]; it’s more classy and fancy, makes it a bit more of a big deal,” Hapeman said. “It’s more romantic. Homecoming is not as big or classy.” Prom is a night to remember, a date or event that you never see too often.

The night is planned to be spectacular, a way to really remember the last few weeks of senior year. “It feels normal this year again, to start to do everything we did in the past,” Mrs. Schiffhauer said. The last pre-COVID-19 prom was in 2019, and since then, prom has either been canceled or has combined prom and postprom celebrations into one event. 

All in all, prom seems to be looking good this year. With the school year coming to an end soon, the senior class will finally be able to get the send-off they have been wanting. With that class having weathered a pandemic, isolation, and much more, now is the time to enjoy one last dance as a high schooler.