Countdown to Prom 2018; The Origin of Prom


Carson Francis

It’s that time of year again; high school girls rushing to find the perfect dress and shoes, boys getting fitted for their tux rentals. Both are rushing to figure out which friends or dates to go with. With this year’s theme being the famous ‘A Tale As Old As Time’, prom week has officially begun. When students think of prom, they think of a night in which they will never forget; dancing, creating memories, late night adventures, and the occasional ‘get together’ after the event is over. But do they know the history behind the special night?

Seniors Alexis Thomson, Samantha Neely, Emma Thomson, Rebecca Barry, Kaitlyn Anderson and Haley Smith. Photo by Kaitlyn Anderson

Prom originates from promenade, which by definition is when one purposely escorts another to a formal/public event to be seen together. While not officially proven, the first ‘prom’ has been said to have been held in 1894 at Amherst College. Male students at this college had invited some females from Smith College to dine and dance, as written in a journal by a male student who had attended Amherst and wrote about being invited to the event.

From there, prom has only evolved throughout the years. Of course, gradually. It wasn’t until the 1930s when prom was recognized more widely and at a larger state. Prom has been demonized and romanticized throughout the decades. Films such as Carrie portrayed the dance as an event not in the favor of those in bottom of the social pyramid, whereas hit 80s films like Pretty In Pink showed prom as the height of a teen’s life in which friendships can be rekindled and we can all hope for a romantic kiss in the rain (without ruining a nice dress and makeup, of course).

Not only has prom itself evolved from what was a classical shindig for young adults, but the events that take place pre and post-prom. Such as the costs invested in prom, which can be up in the high hundreds for some. Dresses have downsized themselves from large, pastel or shiny puffs of fabric, to a more sleek and simple look. And with that, tuxes have also calmed down from the pinstriped and ruffled, baby-blue look, to a more modest, straight edge style (with the exception of pac-man or Christmas themed tuxes).

Junior Dean Revlett Photo by Loretta Revlett

Not only has dressing costs and the dress/tux styles themselves have changed, but after prom gatherings, too. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for a teen to hear about an after party taking place right after, a party going on in a rented beachside house for the night, or a peer’s home with parents gone.

Changes came with UHS’ own prom as well this past year. The previous year’s prom was the first to have a buffet style dinner instead of the classic sit down meal. It also continued the tradition of giving the opportunity to students to receive souvenirs matching the prom theme, so long as they purchase one of the first several hundred tickets.

By the end of the night, almost all teenagers will have enjoyed themselves at their prom. Prom is definitely worth the time and energy that comes with it. Memories will have been made, money will have been lost through expenses…but the traditions will remain similar as time and prom progresses.

Seniors Alaina Cianchetti and Kaylin Nation Photo by Alaina Cianchetti