Junior prom attendance declining due to stresses, expenses

Junior prom has been a tradition at NS for many years, yet with each year the number of couples attending decreases. People wonder what is making more and more students not want to go to the biggest dance of the year. 

“[Prom] is blown so out of proportion when it’s just for one night,” said NS junior Melinda Riley. “Yeah, you get to dress up like a princess or a prince, but it is made so obnoxious and so over the top when I feel like it just doesn’t matter that much.”

A tradition at NS is holding two nights of prom, the first night being boys choice and the second night being girls choice. Along with the two nights, NS juniors perform a choreographed formal dance called promenade. 

“I think promenade can be cool for memories, but it can be terrible because class time is time to learn,” Riley said. 

Promenade takes juniors out of one class period a day for the last week and a half of the third quarter in order to prepare for the night of prom. Along with missing class at the end of the quarter, juniors are also expected to take the ACT three days before the first night of prom. 

“On the day of the ACT you basically have to go from the ACT straight to a three-hour promenade practice, and then a lot of people have to go and compete in a baseball or softball game,” said NS junior Eneli Silva.

After students decide whether or not they want to go to prom, they must find someone to ask. Students at NS start doing promposals as early as January. Often times, students find the task of asking a friend on a date daunting, and find it even more intimidating to find a date before all of their friends have been asked. 

“Everyone started asking the second week of January, which feels way too early, since prom isn’t until March,” Silva said. “I get wanting to ask someone before someone else asks them, but wouldn’t it be easier to wait until February to ask?”

When a junior says that they do not have a desire to go to junior prom, they immediately begin to feel the pressures from their friends and families to go to prom.

 “If I say I don’t want to go, then [my friends] usually freak out saying, ‘It’s prom, you’ve got to go,’ or if I say I don’t want to do promenade at all everyone’s like, ‘You have to. It’s promenade’,” Riley said.

Many students have parents who are NS alumni. These parents often require their kids to participate in junior prom and promenade because they themselves remember participating in the traditional dance.

“My parents are making me go because my siblings went and I feel like I have to live up to that,” Silva said. 

Another reason for avoiding junior prom as a whole is the cost. When going to junior prom you are expected to spend money on the dance, the date, and of course, the formal wear. Many junior girls can spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on the “perfect” prom dress, just to have another girl wear the same dress as them. 

“Sometimes it seems like if a girl has the same dress as you, there would be a fight,” Silva said. “But in reality, everyone looks so different in their dresses, you barely even notice that it is the same dress.”

When it comes to your date for prom, there are cheaper and more fun ways to do dates, but because of the unrealistic expectation that your prom date must be expensive and elegant, students feel like they can’t handle the costs of taking a date to prom.

“Prom is a waste of money,” Riley said.

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