For as long as much of the staff at West Linn can remember, all grades attending WLHS have been allowed to attend prom, a privilege reserved for only upperclassmen at many schools. Some view this as a great way to raise more money for the school as well as a wonderful and inclusive opportunity for all students. Others see it as a violation of a privilege that should be reserved for juniors and seniors only.
Despite this rule and longstanding WLHS tradition, I’d heard angry, resentful comments from the upperclassmen about freshmen and sophomores being allowed to go to prom without the invitation of a junior or senior. So, as I slipped on my heels and was about to walk out the door I had a vague sense of dread. I knew on some level that no one was going to pour lemonade over my head, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was distinctly unwelcome at the 2012 prom since my date and I are sophomores and not upperclassmen.
However, once we were there among the building-shaking music and swirling mass of dancing students, I was relieved to find that no one even seemed to notice anyone else. Everyone was paying attention to their date, their friends, the music, and the lovely table of refreshments set up in the back. The majority of the people in the ballroom seemed to be upperclassmen and there were quite a few sophomores, but very few freshmen. While before the dance, I heard bitter grumblings, once everyone arrived at the zoo, all anyone seemed to care about was having a good time. People were cordial, girls complimented other girls’ dresses and people smiled and waved, no matter which grades they were in.
Perhaps the upperclassmen’s fair reception of the lowerclassmen at prom was due in part to the show of respect for the event by the lowerclassmen. No one appeared to be making an unnecessary scene or causing a noticeable annoyance. The relatively low ratio of lower to upperclassmen probably reduced the ill feelings as well. Some of the freshmen and sophomores may even have felt as I did and decided to walk on eggshells to avoid being yelled at by, or getting the stink-eye from a junior or senior, and of course, to prevent the whole lemonade-face scenario.
I believe prom was a positive experience for many who attended, regardless of what class they were.