Prom: Post-Worthy or Passé?


Left: Main office secretary Sherry Sarte in her 1969 junior prom (Photo courtesy of Mrs. Sarte) Right: Mrs. Giamoni posing with 2004 graduate, Ashley Chandler, during prom. (Photo courtesy of Mrs. Giamoni).

Kirsten Dorman, Editor in Chief

As spring approaches, there is a unique buzz in the air as juniors and seniors shop for dresses or suits, arrange to rent limos, and pull off elaborate promposals.  Most don’t realize how much the event has changed over the years, though. The prom experiences of those at Warren Hills are no exception.

Prom is widely considered a teenage milestone.  It’s no secret that what it means to be a teenager has changed over time.

Main office secretary Sherry Sarte, who graduated high school in 1970, offers her services as a seamstress to girls attending the event.  

The difference in prom dresses over the years, says Sarte, is notable.

“Nowadays, everybody posts their dresses online beforehand,” she said.  “I think it should be a surprise that night because people make mean comments online.  Then the whole group gets in on it. A couple years ago someone I hemmed a dress for posted it online and somebody told her, ‘You should really take that dress back because my friend has that same one.’”

Social media could be partially responsible for stealing the excitement surrounding prom, according to Sarte.

“Students are so used to social media because this is what you’re growing up with.  With my daughter, who graduated in 2003, it wasn’t that way. Not everybody had a cell phone; they used to be a big taboo,” said Sarte.  “Now, there’s no surprise because when you go that night, you already know what everyone’s dress would look like from seeing them on social media.” 

History teacher Zachary Fisher, a 2013 graduate whose high school experience included social media, agreed that the inclusion of screens at every turn may have dulled some of prom’s sparkle.

“The more technical society is getting, it separates the interactions teenagers have,” Fisher said.  “When I was in high school, there was a lot more social interaction. It’s crazy to think about how people have become so distant in a five-year span, especially because of their phones.”

Fisher also remembers how different a recent prom-going experience was to his own.

“I chaperoned last year’s senior prom and half the student body was staring into their phones,” said Fisher. “Five years ago, you only saw maybe a dozen students on their phones rather than a couple hundred.  With things like Snapchat, you can snap or Facetime somebody and see them at any time. I think that has somewhat taken away how special prom is to the student body.”

English teacher Penny Giamoni, a 1989 graduate, also said that we may now be trying to make prom bigger than it actually is.

“Prom is getting more and more expensive each year,” said Giamoni.  “Prom can be an evening of fun, but also a time to remember how lucky we are!  It should be an evening to dress up and party at your first formal affair without your parents there to watch you.”

Senior Cory Perez, crowned junior prom queen in 2018, agreed.

“Being nominated for prom court last year was very unexpected since I’ve never been that type of glittery girl and attending wasn’t on my agenda,” she said. “Knowing that my classmates voted for me made me want to experience prom with them all.”

Ultimately receiving the crown was significant to her high school experience overall, Perez recalled.

“There are some days high school gets to me, but knowing that people do pay attention to the little things makes me want to make their day,” said Perez.  “Being prom queen made my high school experience rise above my expectations and I’m very thankful to have a graduating class like the Class of 2019.”