Prom: the glimmering mirage at the end of junior and senior year. For months, all we could think about was finding the right dress or getting up the guts to ask someone (with a poster board and a pun, naturally). On the day of, as per prom ritual, we went through the whole routine: pictures, dinner, and party bus. But after months of planning, some people forgot the most important part: actually going to the dance.
This trend has become so common in the past few years, that some are asking if homecoming, winter formal, and prom are even worth having. Less and less kids are showing up at the dances. For this year’s prom, 450 tickets were sold; last year, 575 tickets were sold.If so few students actually show up to the dance, what’s the point?
As a member of Senate and a dance-enthusiast, I am conflicted. Even though I believe that school dances are a critical part of high school, I know first-hand how much work goes into planning a simple four-hour event. It’s hard to rationalize planning a whole dance that so few people are going to show up to.
Low attendance at this year’s prom was blamed on the rescheduling, but according to Rashaan Davis, the Senate adviser, “Between the kids who couldn’t go because of the new date and the ones who were then able to go, it was about even.” So there was relatively no change in the predicted headcount for Saturday to the actual count on Friday. If weather doesn’t affect the attendance rate, what does?
“Attendance at dances has gone down because of the fear of getting in trouble with things such as the breathalyzer,” said Tara Devens, a senior who has attended almost every dance. “Also students want to get party buses and that price on top of the price of the dance is too expensive for some to afford.”
Many people think it’s the introduction of the breathalyzer at HR. We got breathalyzers three years ago and they have been required at every dance since then. But every other school has had breathalyzers at their dances for even longer, yet their attendance hasn’t experienced the same decline.
It is also a popular theory that students can’t afford the tickets to the dances. But, for as long as I have been at HR, homecoming tickets have stayed around $20, and prom tickets have stayed around $40. The ticket prices haven’t spiked and the abundance of BMW’s in the student lot tell me that students aren’t getting poorer, so money can’t be the cause.
There will always be complaints about location, music, and decorations, but that’s the case at any school. The only thing that has changed is the unity of the school: there isn’t a sense of community on campus which affects the motivation of students to go to an all-school event. Until there is a change in the culture of our school, attendance at dances will keep dropping and, at this rate, soon there won’t be any dances to ditch in the first place.
Megan de Guzman, Social Media Editor