April 22, 2021

LETTER: The time has come to retire this Creston prom tradition

From Leslie Wurster, Creston

It’s prom time and most importantly, I am truly grateful our kids are in school learning and Creston High School is able to host the dance this year.

I get it … back in the day (I’m not from Creston) closing the prom to only Creston students and upper classmen was to make sure all students got a chance to attend prom without being left out. I do not believe that is the case today.

In the past four years, my son has attended CCHS. I have witnessed this tradition of a “closed” prom has a negative effect on students attending future prom and homecoming dances. What am I talking about?

Students as early as middle school are lining up dates for prom and homecoming dances before they have set foot in the halls of Creston High School. Dates that are “set in stone” before these kids attend high school and experience new relationships and friendships. Dates made for fear of being left out.

Once committed to a prom or homecoming date, it is extremely “frowned upon” to back out or change at any time. Last year my son and his girlfriend informed their “dates” that the two of them were going prom together. Let’s just say many feathers were ruffled over this decision. I was proud of them and supported their decision, especially after witnessing my son’s disappointment when his same girlfriend attended a previous homecoming with another boy.

Why would I like this tradition retired? Students are feeling forced to line up prom and homecoming dates (way too early) for fear of missing out. In return, students in committed high school relationships are, now more than ever, missing out on prom and homecoming experiences with their partners.

I have asked many alumni to help me better understand this process. Many Creston graduates have told me, “It doesn’t make a difference who you go with because everyone meets up at the dance anyway. I had fun when I went.”

I say “Yes, it does make a difference!”

Attending prom (and homecoming) is about the full experience. For many, prom is a reminder of one’s first love. Prom is about your mom picking out a tux or suit to match your “girlfriends” dress. It’s about sitting and eating dinner together. It’s about doing pre-prom activities together. It’s about holding hands and sharing glances with each other. It’s about making memories with someone you care deeply about. It’s NOT about the dance.

As a parent, I have seen my son’s disappointment because his girlfriend is going to a dance with someone else. I see the credit card bills for the clothing and accessories I am paying for my son to not go with his girlfriend. What is even more disappointing, is the thought, when my son is my age he will not remember much of these experiences except his girlfriend went with another boy.

Long story short…I think this CLOSED prom tradition is in need of retirement and stored in the history books.

Let’s OPEN Creston’s prom and allow juniors and seniors to invite other high school students, no matter the school or class. Perhaps the students should decide.