Prom Committee Debating Adding a “Prom Court” to This Year’s Prom

One of the most important traditions at Flint Hill, and in high schools nationwide, is Prom, a dance specifically for Juniors and Seniors that celebrates the end of the school year, and for seniors, the end of High School. Every year, Flint Hill’s SCA establishes a prom committee, open to anyone who wants to join, that is responsible for the majority of prom planning, including theme, location, and music of the dance itself. This year, however, the prom committee is debating adding another element to the mix, the creation of something that resembles a Prom King or Queen, without the obvious use of gendered terms. 

During the prom committee’s discussion about this topic, the atmosphere was very serious, and Upper School Director Don Paige and Dean of Students Howard Chang joined the meeting in order to discuss the possibility. The room felt split on the idea of instating a prom court, and the faculty in the room seemed to be particularly hesitant, due to reliving their experiences with Prom Kings and Queens, and wondering how a prom court would embody the inclusive values of Flint Hill. Many students, on the contrary, were excited about the idea, hoping that a prom court would increase the excitement and attendance of the dance itself, but also thinking that a prom court could celebrate individuals who best represented Flint Hill. 

Growing up watching Disney movies, many students have come to love the standard high school cliche of a prom court, watching as the humble, goofy, relatable main character beat out their popular and mean nemesis for Prom King or Queen, and thus achieving the pinnacle of High School success, and besting the villains of the school in a show of moral character. In real life, however, a prom court has come to symbolize all of the downfalls of the high school stereotype, popularity contests, misogyny, outdated ideas, and vicious competition. Mr. Paige reminisced on his high school years, saying that “the day that the Prom King and Queen nominations came out was always one of the worst days of the year.” So, which of these two versions is true? Would a prom court be just like the movies, or is it a tradition best left in the past? 

Many students argued that Flint Hill has the ability to make the process positive, and students would rise above the trappings of a popularity contest. Yet, Mr. Paige and Mr. Chang shared similar concerns, fearing that there might be controversy over the outcome of a prom court, and worried that both students and their parents could become angry if their child didn’t win. There seemed to be one consensus between the whole group, however: everyone agreed that the terminology “King and Queen” cannot be used, as well as the idea that it must be a male and female student only. The committee agreed that the use of King and Queen terminology enforced stereotypes, as well as created a binary gender system, where the winners had to be one boy, and one girl. While the possibility would, of course, not be excluded, Mr. Paige especially was adamant that everyone needed to be eligible to win. 

While the debate is still ongoing, the committee expects to send out a survey to upperclassmen, polling their opinions on a possible prom court. Senior Gideon Bobb-Semple is in favor of the idea, stating: “We grew up with Prom Kings and Queens in movies, it feels like a dream in high school, something very cool to experience” No matter, what, the tenaciousness of the prom committee foreshadows the success of Prom as a whole, and the night should be highly-anticipated for all upperclassmen. 

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