Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

May 14, 2007

Prom Season

If you type “Catholic” and “prom” into a Google search, not many of the links are flattering to the time-honored tradition. Of course under the current heading of “what makes the news” the main drift of articles nationwide were whether or not same-sex couples could attend the prom as dates. In summary, the answer was “no” though lawsuits seemed on the horizon in some places.

Some other stories were of prom tragedies, like an accident (no alcohol) involved that killed killed one student and inured several others after the prom near Philadelphia.

The means and method of proms is certainly worth a discussion, if not a debate for Catholic schools. The money spent on the prom is extravagant bordering on sinful. Note how one principal battled such excess.

There are other positive prom stories. Last prom season a student at a Wilmington, Delaware high school arranged for rides to the prom for other students with mental challenges. This past March, students at a Louisiana high school set up a special prom event for a classmate who had been injured in an car accident.

What are your feelings about prom in general? About prom at your school? What are some ways your school has made prom successful, wholesome, and in the spirit of the Gospel?

We would be interested in your comments.

Comments

1 Tao

May 14, 2007
I have been teaching within the Catholic High School system for twelve years and have seen many proms. At one time, the prom was a celebration of the end of an era... it was the bridge that one walked across as they said good-bye to their high school years. I believe that this image of the prom however, has passed on and is as good as dead. Proms appear to me now as hedonistic contests comprised of teens trying to out do each other in how much money spend. In many cases this celebration becomes a miniture wedding with everyone saying "Look at Me! Look at Me!" Having seen the proverty of Central America and India, I can only shake my head and pray for the future adults of America.

2 Tao

May 14, 2007
I have been teaching within the Catholic High School system for twelve years and have seen many proms. At one time, the prom was a celebration of the end of an era... it was the bridge that one walked across as they said good-bye to their high school years. I believe that this image of the prom however, has passed on and is as good as dead. Proms appear to me now as hedonistic contests comprised of teens trying to out do each other in how much money spend. In many cases this celebration becomes a miniture wedding with everyone saying "Look at Me! Look at Me!" Having seen the proverty of Central America and India, I can only shake my head and pray for the future adults of America.

3 Anonymous

May 22, 2007
After enough students asked me for my opinion of the prom I did a little reading about its origins. From what I could find it seems that promenades were IN PART an American response to anxiety over European views of us as lower class, uncivilized, unpolished, and so on. Supposedly, they used to serve as an opportunity for our newest adults to show their maturity, sophistication, manners, class, honor, and desire to "act like adults." Now, the prom didn't have that meaning when I was in high school either, and it is possible that this myth on the origins of the prom are only from the highest American social classes who might have even been concerned about European perceptions, but all the same. . . Are the valid reasons for the prom dead? Do they need to be resurrected? Reinvented? It seems to me that our young adults are desperately in need of encouragement to think of themselves as adults and then act like it. Is it a dream to think that the prom could serve this purpose? Right now it seems to me that many students, and often times their parents, are not only ok with, but encourage the view that the prom is anything but civilized, respectful, and mature.

4 Anonymous

May 22, 2007
After enough students asked me for my opinion of the prom I did a little reading about its origins. From what I could find it seems that promenades were IN PART an American response to anxiety over European views of us as lower class, uncivilized, unpolished, and so on. Supposedly, they used to serve as an opportunity for our newest adults to show their maturity, sophistication, manners, class, honor, and desire to "act like adults." Now, the prom didn't have that meaning when I was in high school either, and it is possible that this myth on the origins of the prom are only from the highest American social classes who might have even been concerned about European perceptions, but all the same. . . Are the valid reasons for the prom dead? Do they need to be resurrected? Reinvented? It seems to me that our young adults are desperately in need of encouragement to think of themselves as adults and then act like it. Is it a dream to think that the prom could serve this purpose? Right now it seems to me that many students, and often times their parents, are not only ok with, but encourage the view that the prom is anything but civilized, respectful, and mature.

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