'As special as you make it'

Teens dressed up to get down for the prom

Teens dressed up to get down for the prom

April 29, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Prom - a funny word for a fancy dance.

South Hagerstown High School Principal Michael Shockey says it comes from promenade.

The keepers of Noah Webster's dictionary agree, defining promenade as a ball or formal dance as well as a leisurely walk taken for pleasure or to display one's finery.

Yes, that works.

Prom season is upon us - even in the 21st century.

Now there are prom Web sites, including The Prom Site at, which claims to have more than a million hits a month. The Prom Site includes information and advice and opportunities for readers to submit their own stories and photos.

An online poll asked if girls should ask guys to a prom. Fifty-eight percent of the responses were affirmative votes.

Katlyn Alexander, 16, a junior at South Hagerstown High School, represented those young women for the big dance in the school gymnasium Saturday, April 26.


She invited her boyfriend, a student at Williamsport High School. Emily Keller, junior class president at South Hagerstown High School, had a prom date, her boyfriend, until they broke up three weeks ago. She asked her best friend, who's in the U.S. Navy and stationed in Norfolk, Va.

Whether going to the prom with a steady or with a bunch of friends, the prom certainly is about displaying finery.

Kelly Jo Kibler already has found the beaded teal prom dress she'll wear with clear shoes to Boonsboro High School's prom at the Hagers-town Elks Lodge, Saturday, May 10 - the majority of proms in the Tri-State area are planned for May. As junior class president, Kelly Jo is head of the prom committee. The evening will be her first prom, and she planned to accompany her date, Rick Roelkey, a senior at the school, to pick out his tuxedo for the evening.

"I think he should get all black with a black shirt and silver vest," Kelly Jo says.

The prom is different from other high school dances, Rick says. "I just think it's more special, more formal."

Kelly Jo and Rick say they will join a large group of friends for the evening. They pondered renting a limousine but decided that was too expensive, Kelly Jo says. The group plans to go out to dinner and take pictures at Hagerstown City Park before the prom.

For the South Hagerstown High prom, tickets cost $10, and, in order to buy them, students were required to sign the Prom Promise, agreeing to "not let alcohol and drugs determine the outcome" of their lives. The tradition of prom king and queen stands at South High. Seniors can vote for seniors who've had no major discipline problems and have a grade point average of at least 3.0, Emily says.

Principal Shockey says he brought South's prom back to the school. It keeps costs down. He attended the prom along with several teacher and parent chaperones. He was looking forward to it and thinks students enjoy the prom. "One thing you never do is mess with tradition," he says.

"It's the biggest dance of the year," says Shannon Quinones, 16, a junior member of the prom committee at South High.

Katlyn went to a tanning salon to prepare for the prom. She also got her hair done. Prom is really exciting because it's just for juniors and seniors, she says.

"Yeah, it's a pretty big thing," says South High senior Mark White. For him, the prom is one of the things that signifies the end of school. He didn't need to rent a tux because he has one as a member of the band, but he had to spring for a vest and tie.

South High senior Adam Thomas, 17, says his prom would have been more special if it wasn't in the high school's gym, but students can dictate how they remember the night. "I think it's as special as you make it."

The prom is special because it's a big deal, Kelly Jo says. "It's something you'll remember for the rest of your life."

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