Attending the Prom
'Acting' as opposed to Being
Last year, as 'Acting Principal" I saw how things were done. I had been quiet, letting the Vice Principal and Head Teachers run the show, while I sat, making mental notes.
Now that I am Principal I make my mark.
Last year, the first staff meeting after Easter Break, concerned “THE PROM”. I had turned the meeting over to the Vice Principal and reported to my Office to be sick.
Prom, the very word, was up there with Holocaust and Armageddon as events
I did not want to contemplate.
Oh, I will never forget my High School Prom.
The Prom I didn't attend.
The Prom I didn't attend because no one asked me.
Unlike most students who only get one year to think of the Prom, I had two.
When I was a Junior in High School my best friend, Dee Dee, was a Senior. At Spring break she became All Prom All The Time. What she would wear, how she would do her hair, even the color of her nail polish were major topics of discussion.
She had been dating Mac nearly a year so she knew who was taking her.
Vicariously, I lived her Prom, thinking how wonderful it would be, resolving that as
a senior, from day one, I would find a boyfriend so there would be no question as
to whom was taking me to the Prom.
As my Senior year began I hunted for a boyfriend.
As my grades slipped I realised I was too anxious, I had plenty of time.
Until Easter Break.
Until Easter Break when I still had not a single date, nor had a boy tried to talk to
me beyond; “What’s the answer to question two?”
I realized then I wasn’t going to the Prom.
On Prom Night I stayed home, watched the old flick, “Marty“, principally that scene where the female lead sits in the living room with her parents watching a comedy on television and crying
How You Measure Your Life
There are those who take no interest in High School, just want to get it over with. They may be brilliant and focused on University, they may be non-intellectual and couldn't care less about education.
But for many, going to that prom matters. Having a date, matters.
In my day, realising I wasn't going to my Prom had me splashing in all sorts of alternate realities, but mostly, worming into my books so that I wouldn't even realise there was a Prom...
Yes, it was all play acting, but in a way, the fact I had no boy friend, no date, sort of glued me into singularity in which education/work became my partners.
It is nothing I would recommend.
I called a full assembly of the Senior Class.
Standing center stage I informed them that this school had been selected for a special experiment. A computer dating service wanted to check its viability and that all students would be electronically matched and attend the prom with their “dates”.
The students seemed to be shocked, surprised, but I saw hope on many faces.
I explained how for the first two hours the computer matched pair had to stay as a couple, then, a brief questionnaire would be filled out. After that, the couples were free to separate if they chose.
For our participation, the Dating Service would pay for the Prom.
Well, this got a cheer.
I then turned the assembly over the the official from the Dating Service who, being one of those professional phoneys, was well liked by the kids.
We had eighteen more girls than boys so decided that nine boys would take two girls instead of one.
As I could envision Handsome Jock saying, “No Way!” if he found he was matched with Fat Girl, or Queen Janelle refusing to dance with Geeky kid, I made it clear that not until the day of the Prom would results be announced and that any one who objected would not be admitted.
The anticipation of the Prom was off the scale. Every student was excited, every student was part of this experiment.
Mediation and Other Activities
I had informed all teachers, Guidance Counselors, and staff that I would personally handle any complaints, queries and all matters concerning the Prom.
There were a few students who said they weren't going on religious grounds or that their parents didn't let them date or they would not be in town.
I told them they were to say nothing, but their names would be removed from the list.
Some came to me saying they were Gay or some other such reason which I slapped aside.
"The Prom starts at Seven, you are to stay with your 'date' until Nine. The point is to test the algorithm of the Company. The purpose is to see if the questionnaire has value. This is not marriage, this is not permanent, they just want to know if you have anything in common with the person you are matched with."
I was fairly successful in my encouragement.
Nearly the entire Senior Class was at the Prom.
Though there was the two hour splitting for many, others remained with their date.
Every student who wanted to go had been to the Prom.
“This was a brilliant idea,” Eric the Math teacher said to me, softly adding, “I wish when I was in High School…”
“You too?” I exclaimed, seeing him for the first time.
“You didn’t go to your Prom?” he gasped.
“I’m there now,” I say, “Let’s dance.”