EDMOND — Saturday, hundreds of Edmond teens will again remind the world that for many young people, proms are worth the effort and expense.
Students from Memorial, North and Santa Fe high schools will dress up, dine out and dance the night away. They'll be carrying on a formal tradition that's been around for generations.
An estimated 1,500 to 1,700 students and guests will grace the three metro venues hosting this year's proms. Those figures are great news for restaurants, limousine fleets, florists, salons, dress shops and tuxedo rental businesses.
“Prom is still just as meaningful to our students today as it was 30 years ago,” said Jason Brown, executive director of secondary education for Edmond Public Schools. “Along with homecoming festivities and the graduation ceremony, attending a prom is an event that leaves an indelible mark on your high school experience.”
Getting a date to the big event can be interesting.
Debbie Bendick, principal at Memorial High School, said she is impressed with the unusual ways students ask for prom dates. This year at the Swine Week Assembly — the culmination of the school's community service benefit project — members of the drum line stopped in mid-cadence and held up a string of signs that spelled out “Prom, Katie?”
Another prom truth as constant as the boutonniere is the amount of planning and work involved.
“The students of the prom committee and the prom sponsors put in hours of work to provide a special night for the juniors and seniors of their high school,” Brown said.
One prom tradition does seem to be dying out: the after-prom party.
“We don't have after-prom any more,” Bendick said. “After a few years of very poor attendance, it was discontinued.”
Where they'll be
Carriage Hall at State Fair Park is Santa Fe's prom venue this year. Science teacher Chelsea Foo is heading up the effort. She's expecting between 500 and 600 at the event with the theme “Behind the Mask.”
About 35 faculty, staff and parents will lend a land to the student volunteers in setting up, decorating and tearing down.
Memorial's theme will be “Making Memories.” The prom will be at the Reed Center in Midwest City, wrapping up at midnight. Bendick said nearly 500 tickets had been sold.
North's prom, “Unmask the Night,” is at the Montgomery Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Faculty organizer Joy Patton is predicting a crowd of 500 to 600. The dance will be from 8 p.m. to midnight.
“We are all looking forward to this,” she said.
Among the promgoers will be a group of Memorial special-education students.
For the past few years, teachers Jamie Conerly and Danielle Earl have gone to the formal with some of their autistic and developmentally challenged students.
“It's a great social experience for them,” Conerly said.
This year, three to six students will join their classmates at the prom. They will go out for dinner with their parents along, but after dinner will part company with their parents.
“I am excited to dance in my red dress at prom,” said Abigail E. Smith, a Memorial senior.
Conerly said the student body is very accepting of her special-needs students and willing to ask them to dance.
“This will be a lot of fun,” Conerly said. “It gives the kids a chance to cut loose and provides them with great experiences.”