The cost of tradition

Many high school students have looked forward to prom since they were little. Prom is one of the biggest high school dances around the nation. At NS, the dance is a two-night event, which includes a promenade, elaborate decorations, and formal dresses and tuxedos.

“Prom has been a big tradition at NS for many years,” said Paul Allred, art teacher at NS. Allred had been the prom advisor for nine or ten years. Science teacher Ed Staker agrees.

“It has been the same here for so long,” Staker said. He went to his junior prom at NS in 1967, where he remembers the music being provided by a live band. Even though it’s been many years since Staker’s prom, not many things have changed. Hundreds of hours of work and preparation go into keeping the prom traditions at NS alive.

“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you don’t see,” Allred said. “It’s good to see it pay off.”

There are many things that the prom advisor helps out with and works on, which includes ordering decorations, picking the royalty and the song, and delegating to make sure that everything works out smoothly.

“It’s a lot of community pressure,” said Jori Turpin, English and French teacher. Turpin is the current advisor for prom and agrees that it is a lot of work.

Although prom takes countless hours to put together many students think it’s worth it.

“I’ve been looking forward to prom night since I was a little girl,” junior Tylar Larsen said. “It’s something you dream about.”

Larsen is only one among many students who are excited about the upcoming dance.

“I get to wear a pretty dress and be a princess for two nights,” junior Heather Mickel said. Junior girls are not the only ones who are looking forward to the dance.

“I’m pretty excited for [prom], because I saw all my brothers go,” junior Shandon Wheeler said. “I get a cool tuxedo, so that’s pretty neat.”

Although the majority of high school students are in favor of prom, some feel differently.

“My parents didn’t care about prom so it made me not care,” junior Jana Miller said. “I don’t like dresses or doing my hair.” Besides, according to Miller, “I’m always a princess; it’s not just for one night.”

One of the other reasons people don’t like prom is the financial burden that it can impose.

In a recent survey of NS students, nearly 30% indicated that they expect to spend between $200 and $400 on prom, including the date and wardrobe.

“I don’t like that it costs so much for 15 minutes of fame,” Staker said. “It’s a pressure to spend as much as others.”

Although Staker thinks that the expense of prom is overwhelming for some, he also thinks that if so much is spent on the date, why not make two nights of it? Turpin doesn’t see the need for having two nights.

“I see the draw, and I like how the kids get to dance and how the community is involved,” Turpin said. “I think it’s cool, but I think it is taken a bit too far.”

Turpin went to her junior prom at Copper Hills High School in West Jordan. Her prom was only one night and took place at the Utah State Capitol building, where a dinner was also provided.

While prom can be a stressful occasion, there are noticeable benefits in students’ behavior.

“It’s amazing to see how dressing formal changes the way the students act,” said Kevin Allen, welding and science teacher. Allen was the advisor of prom at NS for 17 years, and even though he says there are still some boneheads, he likes to see students dress up in elegant attire because it’s easier for them to be good and not act like their normal high school selves.

Any way you look at it, prom is a tradition that will not be changed anytime soon at NS and according to the survey, most students seem to like it just the way it is.

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