The Prom: Basic Facts & Other Musings by Provost Bill Bussey
Ahhhhhh. It’s that time of year again.
If your child is attending the prom, I would urge you to read, then re-read Mr. Henderson’s recent letter regarding this event. Spend 20 minutes going over some of its key messages with your child. This is a terrific evening and we’d like your help to keep it that way.
The Real Date to Remember: While the prom is held on Saturday night, April 25th, the most important date, the line-in–the sand date, is Monday, April 20th at 5:00 p.m. Why? That is the last day for Class I & II students to reserve a spot for the Prom Dinner with Ms. Overzet. That’s our deadline and cannot be changed. Your child will receive a formal invitation and be reminded ad nauseum of this responsibility between now and then.
Cost: Prom $77.50/Dinner $42.50
Awkward: If your child has asked or been asked by someone to go with them as a date: Make sure that it is crystal clear by the time they RSVP to Ms. Overzet that there is an agreement as to whom is paying for what.
The Dinner: Class I and Class II will be dining together and with faculty. I will be present at the Prom (my 25th Prom, one of those "time-to-re-evaluate-your-life" stats) with Class Deans. As always, we also have plain-clothed security covering the event and exits. In the last three decades of Nobles proms, we have experienced only one minor misstep that occurred during the prom itself.
We’ll Call You: Some Class III students do get invited. And once in a great while, a Class IV student will be invited. I will be calling the parents of any Class IV student invited to make sure they understand our concerns regarding this evening.
Pre-Prom Photo Opportunity: Last year we offered the opportunity for Class I parents to shoot prom photos on campus at the Castle from 5:00-6:30 p.m. It was crowded, and parking was a bit difficult, but people enjoyed it. This year we will offer the same opportunity to Class II parents to take photos of their children in the Performing Arts Building. It could be very crowded, but we want to give it a shot. We have a parking plan that we will send out later. BUT…please don’t feel that this is something that you have to do. Here’s why: At the prom, we have a Nobles grad, Randy Smith, who makes his living as a professional photographer in New York City. He has been our prom photographer for about a decade. He does it as a favor. He takes a zillion photos of every grouping imaginable for those who ask. In the past, we have sent the entire batch to your children. They do not pass them on to you. This year we will send them to you via email as well.
One Down: At this writing some (but surely not all) of the prom anxiety around who is going with whom has subsided. Know that every year some students choose to attend with a group of friends, and that we do everything on our end to encourage that approach. For a variety of reasons the prom generally means more to Class I students than to Class II students; more than a few Class II students sit this one out. And that’s okay, too.
Next One to Follow…Navigating Transportation: For many students, navigating prom transportation, not just the mode but especially with whom, inevitably grows complicated. Feelings get hurt. Cars and limousines only hold a finite number of people. They leave it to the last minute. Someone always feels that they didn’t make the cut. If there is one area you should keep your eye on, it is this one. Guide, suggest, and support.
And to All a Goodnight: Our responsibility with regards to this evening ends at midnight or when your child leaves the Battery Wharf Hotel. The adults stay until midnight, but students generally leave much earlier to avoid higher limousine costs, adhere to license restrictions, and to get a jump as to where they are heading afterwards. When they depart, they are then your responsibility. Know where your child is going, know what they are doing, and have a clear plan as to when your child returns home and how.
Civil & Criminal Liability: It is our experience that there will in all likelihood be a few parents who will disregard our concerns and feelings about what happens under their roof following the prom. Asking parents not to break the law, especially on this night, seems like a reasonable request. The majority of after prom parties at the very best simply get weird and uncomfortable as the clock ticks--at their worst, humiliating, life-threatening and tragic.
Let me leave you with a recent quote from a mom and dad who thought they and a few other adults could serve alcohol to a small group of students (“really nice kids who we knew for years”) without any incidents:
“We must have been out of our minds. What were we thinking?”
As always, thank you for your help and understanding.