Subject Material

The USA - High School Prom

Published: 19.01.2010, Updated: 03.03.2017
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The students in the corridors are buzzing with excitement. Girls are huddled in corners chatting away. Boys are trying their best to look calm and cool. Do you think he will ask me? Should I ask her? Who are you going with? What are you wearing? Will you help me find a dress? How should I wear my hair? I have been looking forward to this for so long, I can’t wait!

USA - High School prom
 
Text in Brief
Every year during the month of June excited high school students prepare for “the” social event of the year - the annual high school prom. The prom is a formal dance that marks the end of a school year. Although schools may have proms for each year’s class, the senior prom is the biggest of all. For graduating seniors, it commemorates their last year of high school. Hide

Girls ready for the prom. Photo.Girls ready for the prom 

Many students spend a lot of time, money and effort in planning for the evening’s event. In the past, the prom was more of a couple’s event. Today less emphasis is placed on couples, and students may go alone, with a date or with a group of friends.  Girls wear formal dresses, and the boys wear suits or tuxedos. Many students arrive in limousines or party buses. Later, dinner is served, and a professional photographer takes the students’ pictures. Other rituals may involve speeches by the
class president, the announcement of this year’s winners of various awards, and the crowning of king and queen of the prom. The month is June, and high school students across the country are gearing up for their annual school prom. The prom is a formal dance that marks the end of the school year. For many students it is “the” social event of the year. There is a great deal of anticipation and preparation. Schools may have proms for each year’s class; freshman, sophomore, junior and senior, but there is no doubt that the senior prom is the biggest of all. This is their graduating year and their “last hoorah”. To make it a memorable event, many students spend a lot of money, time and effort planning the evening.

Prom Jump. Photo.Prom Jump 

In past years, the prom was more of a couple’s event. A boy would ask a girl to be his date, and he would escort her to the prom. This meant buying the girl a flower (a corsage) to wear at the dance and picking her up at her home. It also meant meeting the parents and having lots of pictures taken! Today’s proms have less emphasis on couples. Many students go with a date, but many also go with a friend, in groups of friends or even alone (stag). Whether you have a date or not, the evening is full of laughter and tears of joy.

As the prom is a formal event, many girls wear ball gowns/party dresses and the boys are mostly in suits or tuxedos. Those who can afford to may rent a car, preferably a limousine, so they can arrive in style! Others pool their money with a group of friends and rent a party bus. Dinner is often served, and students/couples can have their picture taken by a professional photographer.

In the course of the evening, the class president has a welcoming speech and, along with the student council, they announce the winners of various awards. At some schools they crown a king and queen, which for many is the highlight of the evening. Regardless of the various rituals, there is always music, dancing and a spirit of pride and accomplishment which can be felt throughout the evening. The prom is a very important event for many students, and most wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Comprehension

  1. What is the "prom"?
  2. Is it an important event?
  3. Why is the senior prom considered the most important?
  4. What do the girls wear and what do the boys wear?
  5. Why do some students rent a limousine?
  6. Name at least 7 things which might take place at a prom.

Vocabulary

In the picture, Inside the prom limo, the teenagers are on their way to the prom. Find at least 10 words (adjectives) which describe the people in the limo, how they look and what their feelings might be e.g. young, excited. Write down both the English word and the Norwegian translation.

 

Conversation Practice

In pairs

Inside prom limo. Photo.Inside prom limo  

Look at the picture, Inside the prom limo. Act out a conversation between two of them. You choose who you want to be.

Suggested topics:

  • The limo costs a fortune
  • The prom only lasts for a few hours. Tomorrow it will rain again.
  • Wow, I'm only young once and I'm "gonna" make the most of it.
  • My God, these clothes are uncomfortable!
  • Do you think the driver knows where to go?
  • Will there be a menu for vegetarians there?
  • I wish people would leave those cameras at home!

Starter: Do you know what I keep thinking about?


Writing

  1. You are one of the people in the picture, Inside the prom limo. You are a Norwegian who has been at high school in the US for a year and are now on your way to the prom. Write an SMS to an American friend in Norway telling them what you are thinking at this moment.
  2. Imagine that you have just been to your senior prom and have had the time of your life. Wanting to share your thoughts about the prom with your date in a special way, you decide to write him/her a letter.

Discussion

Watch a few minutes of the video: Junior Prom (link collection). What has changed, and what has not changed when it comes to proms and dating? Take notes from your discussions and compare between the pairs/groups afterwards.

Tasks

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