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Prom open to all

Freshmen and sophomores can attend prom, regardless of what students might think

Contrary to popular belief, prom is not just for upperclassmen. Prom is open to all students, regardless of grade level and invitation status.

The decision to alter the status of the prom to a more inclusive one was made in 2008 by the principal of the time, Lou Bailey.

“It was a choice that supports our ongoing efforts to make West Linn a place where all students feel included and valued,” Annie Kaiser, ASB Advisor said. “The policy was officially changed, and since then, all grades are welcome at both winter ball and prom.”

This was a controversial decision among the student body.

“Even though all grades are allowed at prom, there’s kind of an unspoken rule that underclassmen don’t go,” Kassie Thierauf, junior, said.

This makes it hard for ASB to promote the inclusive nature of prom as well as they’d like to.

“When I discuss it with underclass students, it takes some effort to convince them that they can attend – that they really are welcome,” Ms. Kaiser said. “[They think] that they will be judged and maybe mocked if they chose to buy their own tickets and go. And why? Because of the recycled myth of there being a pecking order, or social hierarchy in high school: that, simply because they are younger, freshmen and sophomores aren’t entitled to the same privileges and experiences as juniors and seniors.”

This mindset exists even among the lower grades.

“Even I’m an underclassman and I think it’s a privilege that should only be given to third and fourth year students,” Sophie Conrad, sophomore, said.

Students have other reasons besides the social hierarchy of high school to not attend prom for all four years of their high school careers, though.

“Who wants to go for four years? It’s so expensive,” Thierauf said. “It’s more fun for you if you’re only with juniors and seniors. It’s a lot cheaper and more special for you if you only go when you’re a junior and senior.

No matter what reason underclassmen have for not attending prom, ASB is working hard to change the mentality.

“So, we are working to shift that mentality about these big dances – publicizing as often as we can that All Grades Are Welcome, asking our freshmen and sophomore leadership students to encourage their classmates to attend if they want to,” Ms. Kaiser said.

If you are a freshman or sophomore and want to attend prom 2017, know that you are welcome. There is still time to buy your tickets!

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Prom open to all