A private high school in Illinois does not allow its students to pick their own prom dates. But before you freak out and think this is some 1984-esque learning institution, read on.
Since 1926 Aquin High School has been carrying out a rather odd tradition. Rather than let students choose their own dates, because let’s be real high school students generally make bad decisions, Aquin holds a prom draw.
Here’s how it works: The boys gather in the library and draw a girl’s name out of hat while the girls wait in the gymnasium. Then, the boys march on over to the gym and ask their chosen date to the prom with a clever skit. There’s an hour-long YouTube video of the whole ordeal and you can see the boys take it very seriously. There are costumes, fake mustaches and a lot of cheering.
It’s pretty cute.
“New dates, new skits, it’s always fun,” said one Senior boy named Dennis Neery to WREX 13 in Illinois, who was part of the 2017 draw. Indeed, he seemed really pumped about the whole thing.
Even sweeter? The purpose of the prom draw is not to strip teenagers of their freedom, it’s so that everyone has a date to prom and all students are included. Can we say “Awww”?
Despite the good intentions, however, not everyone will be a fan of forced fun. As one Aquin student, Michelle Gallagher, pointed out “I think most people are in disbelief and a lot of people say they would hate it.”
But she continued, “I think after they kind of hear the rest of the story and hear what goes into it I think a lot of people are actually intrigued by it. It’s less of a date and more like something fun to do with your classmates.”
As someone who never got asked to prom I would have been soooo into this. I should point out however that for LGBTQ students this may feel like one more way to force them into a hetero-normative tradition. And for some students, who maybe don’t get along with their classmates, this could be a stressful situation.
Hopefully Aquin has a way to work with those students, so everyone truly does feel included.
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