Unsigned: Prom: Necessary Tradition for Senior Transition

   The end of the year is fast approaching, and amongst AP tests and finals, seniors have also begun to think about Prom. With many UC High students waiting to see if in-person Prom on June 23 is feasible, it begs the question: why is Prom so important? There are reasons for the love of Senior Proms beyond the chance to dress up and dance with friends (though that’s still a valid reason in itself). Though Proms may not be as extravagant as seen in movies, they are still an infinitely valuable and important experience.

   As cliche as it is, Prom signifies the transition from youth to adulthood. According to a Prom-planning business, “For students, Prom, along with graduation, symbolizes the end of high school and the beginning of their adult years. It’s a rite of passage that students remember for the rest of their lives” (andersons.com). With Prom, seniors can feel proud, as if they’re celebrating all their hard work and accomplishments that got them this far and preparing for a new stage of life. This makes Prom more important than the usual school dance; it’s significant for seniors as a celebration of growing up. Senior Naama Mazor said, “I think Prom is a really fun and sweet tradition that people look back on for years. It’s an awesome way to celebrate finishing school with all the friends you’ve made over the years.”

   Prom is likely the last school dance that seniors will attend. “For seniors, [Prom is] often their last chance to have fun with their friends, look back on their years of high school, and share memories before everyone moves on with their post high-school lives” (andersons.com). Senior Abby Cosgrove said, “I think Prom is important because you get to see everyone before high school ends and everyone goes their separate ways.” It can be incredibly saddening for seniors to enter the next phase of life, possibly being without the people they’ve known for years, and having Prom as a final goodbye to the school and people in it can be very sentimental as a form of closure for those about to leave the state, or see several of their own friends leave.

   Towards the end of the year, teen stress is high. According to a website about education, the end of the year can be very stressful due to finals and the fear of poor grades going on record (resilienteducator.com). Additionally, this year, AP Exams run from May 3 to June 11 according to the College Board, and that’s bound to cause even more student stress (apstudents.collegeboard.org). It’s important for stressed students to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to school stress, and Prom can be something positive to look forward to around that time. It’s a chance to let loose after dealing with studying and difficult tests; students can worry about something silly and lighthearted for a change, like finding the perfect outfit or deciding who to go with, whether it be with friends or with a date.

   Prom would be especially important this year, after the lockdown and subsequent year of online learning. According to USA Today, a chance at a modified Prom provided this year’s seniors with something to look forward to after an unusual and difficult year (usatoday.com). Not only are students stressed from school, but the pandemic and possible isolation are also stressors for teens. Prom, even if it’s not quite the same as it would have been another year, is still a unique and positive experience that is needed after the hardships that teens faced throughout the year.

   While Prom is usually the last school dance of the year, for many seniors this year it would also be the first. Cosgrove said, “I’m really excited for Prom if we do have it, because it would be the only dance we’ve had this year at all.” It’s true that due to COVID-19, seniors lost lots of opportunities for dances like Homecoming. Prom this year is their last chance at dressing up and having fun with friends, or with a date, and for that reason, an adapted and safe Prom in 2021 would be a very beneficial opportunity for students who felt that they missed out on their senior year.

   Prom isn’t just a silly high school dance. It’s a symbolic and sentimental event that stays with high school seniors forever. It’s a de-stressor and a last farewell and a coming-of-age party all in one, and all of this makes it an important event for seniors. Of course, any kind of Prom this year has to be safe, as to not spread COVID-19, but if it’s possible, save the date for June 23, and get ready for an amazing Senior Prom.