I never got to go prom. Be it a sports tournament or my lack of popularity, my own high school prom was just not in the cards for me. When I became a teacher, Prom became an excuse to go out to a nice Nashville dinner, drink a bottle of wine with the other lushes from the English department ;), and then make it to chaperone. And chaperoning entailed bouncing around from student to student to tell the girls they looked beautiful, the boys they looked handsome, keeping a mental note of who we were going to gossip about in the corner, and finally making it to a table where the shoes could come off. The kids really didn’t care that we were in said corner. To them, we were like fruit flies – a slight annoyance but much more acceptable than mosquito parents as chaperones.
Public school prom meant our school police officer would have his alcohol flashlight, our principal was always just a little on edge, and the inevitable one or two students who were going to get arrested for drugs or drinks. It also meant an entire week where the gym was off limits so Mrs. Kandros could work her magic. I loved going to prom as a teacher.
But the best prom in the whole world happens at UAS. Prom isn’t just an event. It is an ordeal. Senior moms meet for months to make the prom better than the last year’s. Money is raised by the Seniors all year through bake sales. Money is given by STUCO much to the annoyance of our treasurer. UAS prom consists of the complete redecoration of the auditorium and hallway, a sit-down family dinner, crazy teachers who are chosen as masters of the ceremony, and then it is open up to the rest of the student body for the dance. Each Senior is given a table for their family and friends. Then the students invite the teachers (usually the Senior teachers) as guests.
SIDE NOTE: This year there was a prom-gate. Being the very opinionated class that they are, the Seniors decided to leave a few teachers out of prom. And while I didn’t necessarily agree with all of the choices or the way they went about it, I was secretly impressed that they used their voices to tell a few people to simply do a better job. You did us a disservice, you didn’t give us the help we needed during school, so chau during our celebration. Brutal yet effective. It also caused a massive riff among the faculty, as you can imagine. But I digress.
Anyway, Tavis and I were chosen as Masters of Ceremonies. And we did our thing. We wrote a song to the melody of Our Favorite Things called Our Favorite Class. We wore crowns and pretended to be prom king and queen. We handed out awards with words that kids had to look up. For example: We awarded one kid with the gift of amicability. He is still trying to figure that one out. We made silly Dad jokes and had a wonderful time.
Dinner was a coursed meal. Muy rica! And the photo booth was, yet again, the highlight of prom. Our Senior band played a few tunes. (I am still furious that we never saw them play at coffee house. Those little sneaks.) Then the underclassmen who bought tickets were let in and the dancing commenced.
There are four things that make UAS prom my favorite:
- That our richie rich kids complain about the fact a ticket costs roughly 20 US dollars. I hope my Hendersonville kids read that and comment like crazy considering they spend up to 100 US dollars on just a ticket.
- The prom dress is not the most important part. Although our girls look lovely, they also look normal. It isn’t a competition. They have all already had quinceaneras. This dress is mewh in comparison.
- Everyone dances – parents, cousins, tiny siblings, teachers, the principal, underclassmen, Seniors, abuelos…you name it. Dancing is for everyone. And Gabriel leads the way every year. Teachers dance with students and it isn’t perverse or going to cost us our jobs. It is simply a celebration.
- A mix of Spanish and English songs blast through the auditorium and our kids know the words to both. And slow songs really are not a thing.
So, there you have it. The day after graduation we celebrate with a lovely prom. There is no need to have it before to hold it over our kids heads. Most are 18 and will be going to the after prom party where we all know they will probably make bad choices. But school prom is a family event, with a few crazy teachers in the mix, to recognize and celebrate our beautiful Seniors and their achievement of graduating.