Sophie Dvorkin | firstname.lastname@example.org | June 9, 2018
Every year, sometime around the beginning of April, every high school Junior and Senior experiences the wild stampede that is prom. Students all across America spend egregious amounts of money and copious amounts of time preparing for their annual “promenade” in front of their peers for one night. Every 16 -18 year old attending prom has a set of expectations ranging from low to high, but that begs the question: “What sets d.tech’s Prom apart from other local proms?”
The Dragon conducted a series of interviews with students who plan their high school’s prom. We sat down with Jake Jeffries, ASB (Associated Student Body) President at San Mateo High School; Courtney Sullivan Wu and Ashley Chen, Co-Presidents of d.leadership at d.tech; and Hallee Watson, member of Prom Committee of Half Moon Bay High School, all three of whom had differing perspectives about the way that prom should be planned became apparent.
In San Mateo’s case, every senior begins their prom experience in freshman year, when they start fundraising. This continues for their entire high school experience until they can ultimately fund their senior prom. San Mateo diverges from the norm by hiring party planners to plan and execute their prom. “Because of the party planners, prom is the only dance that we don’t have to set up and clean up for,” says Jeffries. Even though San Mateo hires party planners, Jeffries and the San Mateo Senior Class Council still oversee the entire process, ensuring that it’s up to par with the school’s expectations for prom.
For Half Moon Bay High School, the responsibility of planning prom falls on an invite-only committee of 12 juniors and seniors. HMBHS junior Hallee Watson who is also on the prom committee, notes that although the prom committee is intensely exclusive, the qualifications to be on prom committee are generally lax. To be qualified to be on HMBHS’s prom committee, all you have to do is be able to dedicate time and energy to plan for prom. Unlike the somewhat active role of San Mateo’s leadership in prom planning, HMBHS’s prom committee exists independently from their leadership class.
In terms of prom planning, d.tech takes an alternative route in comparison to SMHS and HMBHS. Our prom is planned and executed entirely by d.leadership, specifically by the Events team captained by sophomore Adelyn Chen. However, Co-Presidents of d.leadership and juniors Ashley Chen and Courtney Sullivan-Wu play a fairly active role in planning the prom experience.
The three interviewees all agree that the music plays an important role in making prom a success. Along with the venue, “the entire experience is made up by the danceability of the music. If the music is bad, the event doesn’t work,” says d.tech’s Courtney Sullivan-Wu. However, providing a top-tier venue and an amazing DJ can be challenging for planners, for they have to make crucial decisions on the tradeoffs for price versus enjoyability.
“Expenses are expected,” says Jeffries, noting that the majority of prom attendees spend over $300 on the entire experience. For guys, prom lands in the $300 range due to tuxedo or formal suit costs as well as ticket prices, and the optional cost for a limo or party bus to get to and from prom. For girls, the baseline price for prom begins at $300. Girls typically pay for a dress, nails, hair, makeup, and tickets – which can hike up into the $500 range. “Prom costs are ridiculous,” says HMBHS’s Hallee Watson. She makes a conscious decision to limit the amount of money that she spends on prom: “You can do your own hair, you can do your own nails, you can do your own makeup, you can sew your own dress. Prom doesn’t have to be a financial burden if you don’t make it one.”
As for d.tech, our prom is fairly new, and we’re still getting the hang of what works and what doesn’t. We’ll see how we learn from this year’s prom and use it to plan next year’s.