Playing nice at prom

April 20, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

Dawn Lucas is looking forward to her Clear Spring High School senior prom at the Venice Inn.

She's planned carefully. Her mom, a hairdresser, will do her hair. She works at a shoe store and her discount will save her money on the shoes she'll buy.

How would she feel if someone showed up in the same dress as the one she's wearing?

She didn't think that was too likely to happen since she ordered her gown online. She said she'd be shocked at first if another girl was wearing an identical gown, but she'd try to make the best of the situation and probably would just laugh.

Should she handle such a situation in such a way, Dawn, 17, would be in line with the rules of prom etiquette outlined by PromSpot, an online source of prom information at


"No fits, no fights," is the advice given by the online experts.

Ben Sigler, a Clear Spring senior, said he tries to act like a gentleman all the time, but he admitted he wants to make sure everything about prom night is extra special.

He planned to go to pick out his tuxedo Saturday. His friend, who will be his date for the Saturday, May 8, event, planned to help him choose a tux to coordinate with her gown. Someone showing up in an identical ensemble wouldn't be that big of a deal for guys, he said.

PromSpot has more advice - including be nice to your date, don't "primp in public," and remember your dinner manners.

Although they haven't decided where, both Dawn and Ben plan to go out to dinner before the prom. Neither is worried about table manners.

"Teenagers are going to be teenagers and have fun," Dawn said.

Yet, she expects her prom will be a special night. She had planned to attend with a friend, but started dating someone about a month ago. Her friend graciously insisted she attend the prom with her boyfriend.

PromSpot advises prom attendees to be polite to parents, telling them not to roll their eyes or "get impatient if they want to take one picture too many."

Dawn expects her partner in prom to be "great" about that. They spent their first two dates just hanging with her parents.

Local tradition dictates that parents gather at the prom site to see the dressed-up couples walk in for the formal party.

"It's almost like a fashion show," Dawn said.

Doris Hoopengardner, Williamsport High School art teacher and prom adviser for 33 years, said the prom theme a couple of years ago was Hollywood, and kids paraded in on a red carpet.

"They like to be seen," she said.

Even people who don't have kids come to watch.

"It's great. It makes it even more special," Dawn said.

Students look different on prom night. And Debbie Aleshire, in her 26th year as Clear Spring High School's prom adviser, said they also act "completely different."

Aleshire said the evening goes quickly. The prom runs from 8 to 11 p.m., and by the time the students get there, pose for formal pictures, they don't have much time to dance.

It's OK with Ben. "Prom is special because all your friends are there - everybody's together."

Dawn expects her senior prom to be "all-around great."

"It's just one of those nights you'll remember for the rest of your life."

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