Tradition or practicality? This dilemma is at the forefront for Junior
students and members of the administration this year. Tradition is an
integral part of Holliston High School that many students take pride in,
cherish, and look forward to. However, starting next year, practicality
will rule the school – literally.
Senior year is filled with events that students look forward to from their
first day as freshmen. Senior auction, Senior Dress-Up Day, Senior
privileges, Senior Showcase – the list goes on – but the last hurrah for
the graduating class is the Senior prom. But next year, the Senior prom
will be combined with the junior prom.
“The overlap of students attending both dances is near 80%. That is,
virtually the same groups of kids, in the same couples, with the same
friends attending both proms,” said Michael Cournoyer, Principal. “In order
to attend both events kids need to buy two dresses, rent two tuxedos, plan
transportation, get hair done, nails, flowers, shoes, etc., etc., etc.,”
Cournoyer said. “The result is that some kids end up attending four, five
or more proms during their high school years. What is special about that?”
Kathryn Couseillant, Junior, said, “A majority of girls attending prom
borrow dresses from their friends, relatives, etc. I don’t think that is a
valid reason for combining the proms.”
Mr. Cournoyer continued to explain that most students who are attending
prom get dismissed early from school. If students are attending two proms
they will miss a full day of school. “There are generally too few students
for teachers to feel comfortable moving forward very much with whoever is
left in their classes in the afternoon.”
Junior class Vice President, Peri Prendergast, explained how the Junior
Class Officers were involved in the decision. “The decision wasn’t really
ours to make in the first place. It was up to administration. We had talked
about the possibility of having two proms instead of the proposed single
prom at meetings and brought it to the attention of administration. But
when it came down to it, we didn’t make the decision in the end.”
Prendergast also stated that she, along with a few of her fellow Junior
Class Officers, is a member of the Student Advisory Council and had a
meeting with Mr. Cournoyer discussing the combined proms. “We expressed our
opinions and ways to save the two separate proms. After that we were still
left with the unanswered question of what type of prom we were having.”
Mr. Cournoyer explained that having a combined prom was decided two years
ago, but because the planning of prom is done so far in advance, it has not
been able to happen until next year.
Reactions to the combined prom have been mixed. Mr. Cournoyer said that he
has not heard any specific complaints about the current arrangement but,
“there have been many, many complaints about how expensive it is for
students to attend proms.”
He said that there have been many complaints from teachers about the timing
of both proms. “The two proms that are currently held every year happen at
a very tough times academically; many students are studying for AP exams
and final exams by mid-spring and disrupting two days is not good for
students or teachers.”
“I suspect that some students are not happy about the change and a number
of kids have expressed their displeasure,” Mr. Cournoyer stated. “Some have
been very upset but most simply had questions that, once answered, allowed
them to understand the reasoning behind the decision.”
Couseillant said, “I am very disappointed about not having our own Senior
prom next year. The prom, separate from the Junior’s, was supposed to be
our last chance to get together as a whole class and celebrate. I feel that
now it will basically be a Freshmen-Sophomore Semi.”

“The only argument, one that I don’t buy, is that having two proms is a
tradition,” Mr. Cournoyer stated. “I understand and appreciate the
tradition of holding really nice high school proms but nobody can convince
me that having TWO such events every year makes sense, even if it has
happened for a number of years. Many area schools do one prom for
upperclassmen and some do not have a prom for seniors at all.”

Stephanie Berard, Junior class Secretary, along with Prendergast, believe
that the tradition of Senior Prom should be continued.

Berard believes that, “[Having separate proms] stood apart from some other
schools and really gave each senior a time to celebrate the years they have
spent together and a memory of togetherness to look back on.”

Prendergast said, “I am open to alternatives and different ways to save
money, which is a major factor in the decision, but I felt that this
decision was made for us, not with us. I’m sure that as a class, we’re
willing to do what it takes to save our only “senior” prom we’ll ever have
but sometimes it’s not up to us, which is very unfortunate.”

“For me, it really seemed like an unwinnable battle and with the promise of
an alternative event for the seniors, I thought it would be better to move
on and focus our energy on the rest of our senior events and this year’s
Junior Prom,” Berard stated.

Prendergast’s final statement was: “It’s hard to have something that you
look forward to taken away but either way, I hope that it is a memory I’ll
always be able to look back upon.”

The decision on the combined proms, confirmed by Mr. Cournoyer, is final
and that “[students] can’t [keep two proms]. We are moving forward with the
new plan.”


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