During prom season, students’ social media pages are flooded with juniors and seniors across Marin picking dresses, posting promposals, and getting ready for their respective proms. Schools such as Terra Linda High School, Marin Catholic, and Tamalpais High all offer proms that are either exclusively junior or junior/senior events. Unfortunately, Novato High is missing from that list.
Marin Catholic is one of the schools that plans a prom specifically for their junior class. Samantha Bishop, a junior at MC, talked about what it was like to attend this dance.
“The best part for me was being able to spend time with my friends, my boyfriend, and all my classmates in such a beautiful location,” she said. “Everybody looked great and we had a really good time as a class.”
This year, the Marin Catholic junior prom was on a yacht in the San Francisco Bay. Throughout the night, the boat passed the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Oracle Park, and the Bay Bridge.
“We were very lucky to have this amazing opportunity to make unforgettable, once in a lifetime memories at our junior prom,” Bishop said.
TLHS plans a combined junior/senior prom every year. Grace Bottomley, a junior in the leadership class, shed some light on how that planning works.
“Planning starts before the prom of the previous year even happens. When planning prom we have to consider AP test dates, sport tournaments and games, plays/performances, and basically everything that has to do with the school,” they said.
Bottomley then went on to describe the search for a venue where things like capacity, dates, price, and overall desirable qualities of the space must be taken into consideration.
“The senior class president and senior class vice president are the ones who mainly take charge of planning this along with most of the senior class,” Bottomley explained.
Raising the funds for this event is a challenge.
“Usually we need to fundraise about $5,000-$10,000 before the prom to pay for deposits and other expenses, and then from the tickets that are sold for the event, we raise the rest,” they said. “That being why the tickets are so expensive.”
Similar to Novato High, classes at TL begin fundraising for their prom as freshmen.
NHS hasn’t had a junior prom since the 70s, however, every year, the leadership class throws an amazing prom for Novato High’s seniors. Stephanie Searle, leadership and health teacher at Novato High, talked about what it takes to plan a prom.
“Raising money to pay for the event takes all 4 years – all the little and big events we do, that money is stored into class accounts over the years your class is at Novato High,” she said. “Throughout the 4 years, each grade level within the leadership class works with our prom planner to choose a venue that’s within budget, choose the food/drinks/dessert that will be offered, brainstorm entertainment, come up with a theme, choose decorations and lighting, ask staff to chaperone, create publicity for all communication platforms, create the physical tickets themselves, [and] sell tickets for 2 weeks during lunch.”
The amount of planning and money that it takes to execute prom is the reason that only one is put on each year.
“The leadership class spends 4 years fundraising for a Senior Prom that costs about $50,000,” Searle explained. “I can imagine that it would be difficult to raise money for 2 proms during a Class’s 4 year time at NHS.”
Searle said that if Novato High did have a junior prom, it would be very similar to the dances that the entire student body is invited to attend throughout the year. It would be in the gym with tickets ranging from $5 to $20, casual with a DJ, photo booth, and no other entertainment.
Novato High junior Ava Nielsen thought a junior prom would be a good idea.
“If it’s in the budget for Novato, I would love to have a junior prom as long as it doesn’t take away from our senior prom,” she said. “I mean this year I feel like we only had like two dances. It would be fun and it’s something to look forward to.”
Aurora Hallal, another Novato High junior, had thoughts as well.
“I don’t see why we wouldn’t combine the junior and senior prom because the more people, I think it would be a lot more fun,” she said.
“I wouldn’t want juniors at my senior prom,” Nielsen disagreed, “but if I’d already had that prom experience junior year, maybe I wouldn’t mind as much.”
At the end of the day, a junior prom is not out of the question. Since the issue seems to be funding, a really motivated class could find ways to plan for two proms.
“There could be deals with a smaller or local venue,” Bottomley suggested. “Most of the time, the cost for a venue for something like an off campus winter formal is about $3,000 to $7,000, which is much more doable for a junior class.”
Prom is something that a lot of students look forward to and having the opportunity to attend this event twice is definitely desirable. That being said, planning a successful prom is a commitment and maybe having to wait until senior year for a prom is part of the appeal.