By Jordan Freisleben
The Senior Prefects are currently in the process of writing a contract that the senior class will present to the administration to address the ambiguity of this year’s prom, Head Prefect Chris Holthouse ’11 said.
After cancelling all future semiformals in February, the administration has not yet made a decision regarding whether prom will be held.
The contract would be an agreement between the senior class and the administration to hold prom under safer conditions and to address the problems that have occurred at past events.
“The Prefect Council has been engaged in a pretty lengthy procedure so far just trying to figure out how we want to approach the problem,” Holthouse said. “We’ve definitely been talking to some of the administrators, the deans, our advisers, as well as the whole student body and we’ve had a couple of meetings, in-class meetings, where we’ve invited a bunch of the seniors to really do some work with the Prefect Council to find out exactly what we want to do.”
Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra said that the administration has not yet been approached with any of the prefects’ ideas.
“Personally, I hope that there’s some way it can happen. I don’t want to deny something that I feel that the seniors could do in the right way,” Salamandra said.
Holthouse said that, like the case with semiformal, the prom itself is not the issue.
“The problem is just what happens after prom – and that’s what this agreement is going to pretty much deal with,” he said. “It’s going to say something to the extent of ‘I will not plan or attend some after party that’s at a professional venue’ or one in which you need to buy tickets to go. That’s one of the big problems with the after parties – they’re professional places where kids are just drinking like crazy the first 10 or 15 minutes and then get sick and taken to the hospital. Another part of the contract may be an agreement that says ‘Kids that attend prom will not get a hotel room at the hotel in which prom is at.’ That’s kind of a reasonable thing that administrators have said they may want to have included in the contract.”
Salamandra said that the proposed contract will have to be carefully evaluated to see if it meets what the administration wants to accomplish.
“We might have to tweak it,” Salamandra said. “It might be almost right on, it might not be that we completely have to reject it.”
About two weeks ago, the senior prefects went around at senior class meeting to hear ideas voiced by their classmates.
“All 285 seniors are aware that this is what’s going to be happening,” Holthouse said. “We’re thinking this week the senior and head prefects are going to get together and actually try to write up a draft of this contract or actually put the ideas on paper. We’re going to have a draft at some point in the next couple weeks and going to finalize that with members of the senior class, and then once we do that, we’re basically good to give it to the administration.”
“In an endeavor like this, you really need to be led,” Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said. “You can’t ask 300 people to figure it out together. I think the Prefects are doing a good job leading.”
Salamandra said that the senior bonding at prom needs to be more emphasized than the after-parties and binge drinking.
“Come if you want that feel – about bonding, being with friends, doing some fun things, things that you’ll remember,” he said. “It’s that kind of culminating experience that would be good. If you want to come and you think ‘Partying is what it’s all about’ – then don’t come.”
Holthouse said that the contract would be a way to ensure a longtime high school tradition.
“Obviously, prom is an incredibly important thing in high school and we want to be as proactive as possible so that senior year, [we] have the opportunity to go to something that is special and is absolutely a part of high school,” Holthouse said. “It’s a proactive step that we’re taking, the senior student body is going to take and present to the administration.”
Salamandra said that the administration would prefer to hold prom.
“You guys have worked so hard here, it seems like a crazy way to finish out the year,” he said. “It’s going to leave a bad taste in the students’ mouths, the parents’, the administration’s – it’s a lose-lose for all of us. There are no real winners.”