OPINION: Prom dates should not be mandatory

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Looking for the best dress, having the prettiest flowers, getting the comfiest shoes; this is all on students’ minds when they think of prom. However, the most important thing is whether or not they will have the perfect date. Trying to do all these things for prom adds an unhealthy amount of stress to students’ school year.  When students are supposed to be focusing on their grades, they are more worried about whether or not someone is going to ask them to prom or if they will work up the courage to ask someone.  

Some students are going with their best friends since grade school or someone they have grown close with throughout their high school years.  Some are going with their boyfriends or girlfriends.  Others have a bunch of friends who can find them a date.  What about those few others that do not have a lot of friends or waited too long to find a date and now cannot get one? What about those students who just went through a tough breakup and were counting on their partner to be their date? Why should those few be excluded from something that is supposed to be a huge part of their high school experience?

Junior Kayla Parkinson spent the whole school year telling herself that she would have a date and everything would be OK.  She soon came to the realization that prom was coming faster than she thought and she started to become over-stressed.  Two weeks ago, she found the courage and finally asked someone with whom she went to grade school.  

“Why can I not just go with my friends?” Parkinson said. “My night would be 100 times better if I did not have to worry about a date.”

Archbishop Ryan is one of the many schools that only allows couples into prom.  The Archdiocese made it mandatory to have dates because prom is a formal event, according to principal Joseph McFadden.  This policy is enforced is all 17 Archdiocesan High Schools, he said.

Who ever made it a rule that not having a date made things less formal? It is the way people act and how they dress that makes something “formal.” The archdiocese should see that times have changed and not everyone needs someone with them to look formal.  

Students do not need this added stress during their school year.  Juniors are focusing on their grades so they can get into a good college, and seniors are worried about their future after high school.   To have all this pressure about finding a date for one night sounds unreasonable.  

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