Conflicting prom dates; will Naperville seniors experience their “night to remember” this year?

Photo by courtesy of Emmie Opyd

Tessa Devine and Caroline Kady

FromPretty in Pink” to “Footloose,” prom portrayals depict magical moments and significant milestones in not only movies but also in teenagers’ lives. You see it in “She’s All That” as Laney Boggs strolls down the steps wearing her statement red dress, “Kiss Me” playing in the background, while classics like “High School Musical 3” depict the tacky but heartwarming tradition of prom in the “Night to Remember” dance scene. Prom, for many students, is one of the most anticipated nights in their high school career. But, this year, Naperville students’ “night to remember” might just be a night to fret.

This year, crosstown high schools Naperville North and Naperville Central have scheduled their prom for the same day: May 9. This scheduling conflict created a myriad of problems for some, including coordinating friends and dates, deciding which dance to attend, scheduling various appointments and even ensuring the safety of transportation from both events.

North’s Junior Board and Central’s Junior Class Council organizes the whole event, from the venue and music to the food and theme. The advisor of Central’s Junior Class Council, Michael Jarvis, decided to change venues due to concerns involving the previous venue, greatly limiting their options on a one year notice.

“Our date changed because we were not happy with our prom venue,” Jarvis said. We are moving to Abbington this year, but the only date they had open on short notice was May 9.”

To choose a date for prom, Jarvis discusses the dates with the prom venue and the student activities director. Their biggest concern is when the spring play will occur and if students will be unable to attend prom due to state competitions or other events, rather than if another school is having their dance on the same date.

After the initial announcement, speculation grew among students from both schools regarding the idea of combining the proms, believing this would solve coordination problems. The idea was originally expressed publicly by Naperville North senior Emma Bednar, who represents one of many students who have interest in attending both proms: she went to middle school at Kennedy Junior High, which is a feeder school for both high schools, and attended Central her freshman year.

“I have always felt drawn to going to both dances. I’ve actually been to all eight 中国体彩官方app下载安卓comings,” Bednar said. “That in and of itself was something I was really passionate about because it was an opportunity for me to see people I barely ever see because they go to Central.”

Frustrated about the conflict, Bednar reached out to District Superintendent, Dan Bridges, on Twitter, writing, “@Danbridges since NNHS and NCHS proms are very inconveniently on the same day this year, what are your thoughts on combining them into one huge d203 prom?”

Bednar believes that combining the two proms will lead to new friends, new traditions and a unique opportunity for seniors from both schools to end their high school career with a bang.

Unfortunately, Bednar is doomed to be disappointed. According to Naperville North Head Junior Board Advisor and the main prom coordinator Patrick Burns, rescheduling and planning prom to fit those suggestions has more layers than students often recognize.

“We plan these two years out and usually do a two-year contract, so we have to figure out the venue and the food being provided [far in advance],” Burns said.

Additionally, both proms hold around 650 people minimum, which limits options for safety as well as venue and food, making it nearly impossible to combine the proms considering that the schools would need to replan the whole event. Additionally, the current venue, Embassy Suites, only 1,000 guests with 13,000 square feet. With a potential combined attendance well over 1,300, there simply isn’t enough space.

Senior prom, in all it’s preconceived tackiness and glory, might be a chaotic night in Naperville this year. Despite the conflict surrounding the cross-town proms’ dates, both schools students and staff have worked to assure the proms will be a night to remember for all.

“It’s really frustrating that I do have to choose because I feel so closely drawn to both proms and I have friends at both that I would really love to be able to spend this amazing night with,” Bednar said. “But, I am so excited and I can’t wait to see everyone on that day! It’s going to be really special and just an amazing way to close out high school.”