Prom: a night to remember. The finale to every movie; the resolution to fairytale fights and disagreements. It’s something that’s a classic staple of high school life, and at Jefferson, we’re only guaranteed to experience it once.
It’s really too bad it only lasts two hours.
For most prom groups, the day starts around 3:00 p.m. By that time, girls will have gotten their hair and makeup done, and students of both genders will have gotten ready in formal tuxes and floor-length gowns. Groups head to take photos around Northern Virginia and D.C., and, a couple hours later, are eating dinner at semi-formal and formal restaurants.
This year’s prom, located in the Sunset Room at National Harbor overlooking the water, began a little before sunset. However, despite the meticulous plans many groups had for their schedule, few included arriving to the last dance of their high school career on time.
The start time for this year’s prom was 7:00 p.m., well before the sunset the rented space was so aptly named for even began. Although the hall was packed with teachers and administrators, at 8:30 p.m., a reasonable time for fashionable latecomers, there were still less than forty students total in the hall, and none were dancing.
In fact, dancing barely began until 9:30 p.m., less than two hours until the end of the evening.
The problem with this isn’t the students’ sense of lateness, but rather, the times during which proms are planned. When it’s still light outside, few students are going to want to be at prom, let alone begin dancing during it. There’s nothing wrong with having a later start to the evening; in fact, it would give the students greater flexibility.
In addition, there is no issue with transportation that could occur. For those students that drive, the current legal systems allows for driving after curfew back home from school events. For those who had chauffeurs drive them, a late end wouldn’t even be an issue.
Perhaps the main benefit would be the most effective use of funds allocated to the Prom Committee and class sponsors, rather than wasting time rented in the location. Although the Prom was beautiful and followed an elegant and appropriate nautical theme, most students missed over half of their time there—a waste of the effort invested into those first few hours.
In future, students shouldn’t have to enjoy only a few hours of prom. If they wish to leave, that’s their own discretion, but every student should have a choice to enjoy as much of it as they want without having to rush their own plans.