||It has been suggested that School formal be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since May 2013.|
In the United States prom (short for promenade) is a formal (black tie) dance or gathering of high-school students. It is typically held near the end of the senior year (i.e., the last year of high school). It figures greatly in popular culture and is a major event among high school students. High-school juniors attending the prom may call it "junior prom" while high-school seniors may call it "senior prom." In practice this may be a combined junior/senior dance. At prom, a Prom Queen and Prom King may be revealed. These are honorary titles awarded to students chosen in a school-wide vote prior to the prom, and are usually given to seniors.  Juniors may also be honored, but would be called "Prom Prince" or "Prom Princess." Other students may be honored with inclusion in a "Prom Court." The selection method for Prom Court is similar to that of Homecoming Queen/Princess, King, and Court. Inclusion in a Prom Court may be a reflection of popularity of those chosen and their level of participation in school activities, such as clubs or sports. The Prom Queen and Prom King may be given crowns to wear. Members of the Prom Court may be given sashes to wear and photographed together.
In Britain, Canada and Australia the terms formal and grad are most commonly used for occasions equivalent to the American "prom", and the event is usually held for those graduating high, secondary or middle school. However the term "prom" is becoming more common in the UK and Canada due to the influence of US TV shows and movies. In Ireland (and Australia), the event is known as a debs (originally an abbreviation of debutante ball).
'Prom' usage 
Prom should not be referred to as “prom” without the definite article “the” or with “the” as in “the prom.” Usage of the term “prom” is becoming more common and appears to be a colloquial and regional practice. Formal English usage suggests "Prom" is a noun and should be preceded by an article although it often is not in practice. 
Prom attire 
Boys usually dress in black or white formal wear, regardless of the time of the event, sometimes paired with brightly colored ties or bow ties with vests, in some cases in colors matching their date’s dress. Most are rented from stores that specialize in formal wear rentals.
Girls wear traditional ladies dresses or gowns and wear ladies’ jewellery such as earrings and a necklace. Traditionally girls wear perfume, and make-up such as eyeshadow, lipstick and blush.
Prom logistics and traditions 
Prom attendees may be limited by their schools to be juniors or seniors and guests under age 21. Before prom, girls typically get their hair styled, often in groups as a social activity at a salon. Prom dates then gather at a park, garden, or their own and their dates’ houses for photographs. Prom attendees may rent limousines to transport groups of friends from their homes to the prom venue: a banquet hall or school gymnasium. Some schools host their proms at hotel ballrooms or other venues where weddings typically take place. The dance itself may have a band or DJ. At prom, a meal may be served. The cost of prom in the United States in 2012 averages $1,078 per family.
Post Prom 
After the prom, parents or a community may host a “prom after party” or “afterglow” or “post-prom” at a restaurant, entertainment venue, or a student’s home. Other traditions often include trips to nearby attractions, such as amusement parks, regional or local parks, or family or rented vacation houses. Some of these post-prom events are chaperoned and some are unsupervised.
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In Egypt, most private schools have proms similar to ones held in the USA but with slight differences.
In South Africa, the equivalent of the American prom is the Matric Dance, taking place during the matriculation (i.e., final) year of high school (12th grade). It takes place towards the end of the third quarter, shortly before the spring break, after which the matriculation examinations commence. It usually takes the form of a formal dinner and dance. In most schools, the 11th grade class is responsible for arranging the event. Sometimes teachers and parents also attend.
In Afghanistan there is a lunch party organized by the graduating students and called "graduation party" this is mostly seen in the university level graduation after the 16th class with a bachelor degree, this day all the University seniors, faculty members and professors are invited as honors. The party has two major parts; the formal part with the professors and guests and the informal part with the music and dancing at the 2nd phase. Both boys and girls wear "made/rented" academic dress through the entire part one of the party and in part two it is a party and casual. The students who are graduating my choose the halls based on the availability and pricing, usually the halls are not available because all the Afghan parties like wedding are held in rented halls. Students calculate total participants including guests and family members then coordinate with the hall personal for the pricing including the food and the music and all, then the gross total is shared on the number of students. usually this is 1000AFs/student equal to 20$.
In India and Nepal, the equivalent to some extent is a farewell party or farewell gathering. The outgoing students are given a warm send-off by the junior students and staff. All the seniors are felicitated with souvenirs and superlatives are given awards.Unlike countries like USA and Canada there wouldn't be couple dances in India.
In Israel, high school graduation parties usually combine a play and a humbe ceremony, followed by a dance party. In the past years, influenced by American culture, more and more graduates decide to hold a private graduation party similar to the American prom, with dress code, prom dates, limousines, and prom kings or queens, although usually not supported by the school.
In Lebanon, proms are held after the graduation ceremony at night. They are usually held at hotels with a formal dress code, prom dates, rented cars and, occasionally, prom kings and queens.
In Singapore, proms are held at the near end of a senior year for secondary schools. Proms are normally held after the final examinations of all senior students before graduating.
In Malaysia, proms are gaining in popularity, especially in the bigger cities. However, these gatherings are usually organized by students, and the school administration is not involved.
In Pakistan, the equivalent to the American prom is a farewell dinner or farewell function that takes place at the end of the college academic year. In a farewell function, one girl is appointed “Lady of the Evening”, and one boy is appointed “Gentleman of the Evening”.
In the Philippines, proms are popular in high schools. Prom usually takes place in the junior and senior years of high school, which is normally around February or March. Proms are commonly known as “JS Prom”, or, junior–senior prom. The associated student body generally organizes the event. Usually a prom king and queen are chosen. The basis for the king and queen judgment is the beauty and the fashion of the nominee, not the popularity.
In Vietnam, the equivalent to the prom is called liên hoan cuối năm. Some schools hold their liên hoan cuối năm at restaurants. But, majority of schools prefer simple "tea parties" with snacks and soft drinks inside their classrooms. In the high schools at rural countrysides, they don't celebrate at all. Unlike other countries, the students don't dress up in fancy dresses or tuxedos. Sometimes, they just simply wear school uniform to the tea parties.
In Austria, as well as in the Czech Republic, the last year in Gymnasium is celebrated with a ball called in Austrian German Maturaball and in Czech maturitní ples (“graduation ball”). This ball takes place before exams are taken, usually in January or February, the traditional season for balls during the Fasching (e.g., List of balls in Vienna). Normally, balls are formal. The students often invite their parents and other relatives to come to the ball with them. Sometimes several schools organize a joint event. The income is often used to finance a collective voyage of the students after the exams.
In Bulgaria, the ball is called abiturientski bal and is held at the end of 12th grade, when you are aged 18. Preparations for the ball begin at the end of the 11th grade, because students are supposed to organise the whole event. It is celebrated in May, mainly on the 23th, 24th or 25th, after finishing exams. Students can bring a date to the event which is usually held in a restaurant or a club. Usually, before the main event there is a big gathering in front of the high school’s building, where graduates count to 12 (as in 12 grades) and take photos with each other before going to the restaurant called izprashtane (“dispatchment”). At the main event in the restaurant/hotel, there is music, usually pop and retro. Students are free to dance with whomever they want, even if they have come with a date. There is usually an afterparty at a dance club. Some people even organize a second afterparty. After the prom night, students usually go to an excursion together for 3 to 5 days. The popular destinations are the Black sea coast and Turkey.
In Belgium, as well as in some parts of the Netherlands, senior students celebrate their last 100 days of high school with a special day called Chrysostomos or 100-dagen feest (“100-days party”). Tradition states that on this winter day, seniors are allowed to pull pranks on their teachers and fellow students. Some schools handle a theme as dresscode, while others go for the traditional outfit: blue jeans, a black cotton jacket, a black hat (with a red or blue ribbon) and a whistle around the neck. Some even paint their faces and some seniors also carry a spray can (shaving cream or other fluids) to “attack” the non-seniors with. A noisy march through town is also part of the gig. Later during the day, students perform an act at school, usually a silly show involving school or a parody. In the evening, students head to a rented club to party. This involves dancing, singing and lots of beer to get a taste of fraternity life. Sometimes even teachers join the party to show that they too have a wild side.
In Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia, matursko veče (maturalna večer and maturska vecer), as graduation night, is the event held at the end of the senior year. It is similar to prom night in the United States. In Croatia, it is sometimes held in January or February, as in Austria.
In Denmark, the prom is called galla and takes place before the exams begin. The word galla refers to the dress code which is long dresses for the women and suits for the men.
In Finland, the equivalent of the prom is called vanhojen tanssit. The event is in February when high school students in their third year stop going to school in order to prepare for their abitur exams, and second grade students become the oldest in the school. Students learn 10–15 dances for the event. Earlier the habit was to wear old clothes and look old. Nowadays clothes are very much the same kind as in U.S. proms.
In Germany, students celebrate their graduation from high school, or Gymnasium, with an Abifeier (from the graduation certificate or Abitur). The events are informal and usually contain a series of student-organized activities that tend to make fun of teachers, sometimes with an extended hagiography about the favorite teacher. More like the Prom is the Abiball, that follows the official graduation ceremony. Here the students usually wear suits and ball gowns. The Abiball often follows a certain order with a welcome, introductions, an award ceremony for students and sometimes an extended demonstration of all of the artistic outpourings of the students and staff. This is followed by a band (sometimes the school's own band, if there is any) or a DJ playing music, usually starting with a Waltz before moving on to other dancing. Alcohol is available at these events since the legal drinking age in Germany is 16 (for beer and wine), and most graduating students are 18 or older.
In Hungary, students receive a blue ribbon to mark the beginning of the preparation for their graduation. Students receive this ribbon at a ball called "Szalagavató", meaning the "inauguration of ribbons." This prom-like evening dance is traditionally held in the ball season of January–February, but recently sometimes also before Christmas. At the beginning of the ball, each graduating class performs a choreographed dance they learned during the months leading up to the event. After the school organised ball of the evening, students usually go out at night to drink to bars and discos, even if some of them are below drinking age (18 in Hungary).
In Ireland, this formal dance is called the débutantes' ball. This is referred to as the "Grad," or, informally, Debs in eastern Ireland. This is a formal dance for students who have just graduated from secondary school (high school) and is traditionally held between September and October, after the students have finished exams. In rural areas it often takes place in July or August. The same formal dance is also occasionally known as the "Grad" among students in all-male schools. "Grads" can also refer to an informal dance mid-way through the school year. Some all-boys schools have their Debs in January, February, or March of their final year. This is a tradition followed by all-boys schools in Limerick. Students who did an optional "transition" year from junior to senior cycle often get to attend the debs going into their final year and leaving their final year. Alcohol is available at these events.
In Italy the equivalent is known as "i cento giorni" (the one hundred days), an unofficial party organised by students themselves in a location of their choice 100 days before the final exams before high school graduation. Usually the party is not held with all graduating students, rather every class organizes a separated party to celebrate with classmates. The tradition of "i cento giorni" comes from Piedmontese military schools in the late 1800, where days remaining to graduation were counted starting from the 100th with the locution "Mak Π 100", from Piedmontese language "mac pì 100", translating as "just more 100 (days remaining)."
In Lithuania, the prom is held after final exams, usually the same day when high school diplomas are presented. The event is called išleistuvės. The equivalent of prom is called Šimtadienis, which happens around 100 days before final exams. It is held for people who are just about to graduate and is organized by junior classes.
In Norway, this event varies from school to school. It is usually held during the winter months, and is often called "Nyttårsballet" which means "the new years ball." The students are not allowed to bring people from outside the school. In Norway it is very usual to have proms for 8., 9., and 10. graders at Norwegian middleschool(American grades:8=Middle School Senior, 9=High School Freshman 10=High School Sophomore, but in Norway these grades go to 1 school together, called Ungdomsskole and is the second mandatory school, because you go to 7-year elementary school from 1-7 grade, but in some situations both elementary and Norwegian 8,9 and 10 grade go to the same school, but these schools is more often located in smaller communities)and most often there is no division between formal and grad and you can go in whatever you like, and most often in knee-long dresses, this is mainly because proms ain't really a big thing in Norway.
In Poland, proms taking place before final exams (bal maturalny) are still very popular each year. Almost every school organises it about 100 days before matura exams, that's why the prom is commonly known as studniówka ("100 days dance"). The prom begins with students' performance of polonaise, a traditional Polish dance.
In Portugal, proms are held before the end of the year, in May or June and are called "Baile de Finalistas" ( Finalists ball). The students wear formal suits and dresses. In some schools is chosen the king and the queen of the prom. It is organised by a student association, elected in the beginning of the school year by the students to organise school events. After prom the student usually go to a club in order to have fun all night.
In Romania distinct proms are held each year in high schools and college for both the graduating students as well as the newly enrolled ones. They are called graduation balls and freshmen ("boboci", meaning "hatchlings" in Romanian) balls, respectivelly. They are usually not black tie (informal). The venue is chosen by the teaching staff and can be any place, including the school gym or auditorium, a club, restaurant etc. It is common to charge students an admission tax in order to offset the cost. One or more bands or singers are usually hired to provide entertainment. Often the event is sponsored by local businesses. Access is usually controlled and limited to students of that particular high school or university, but exceptions can be made for relatives and it is not uncommon for students from other institutions to try to crash a particular prom. Freshmen proms usually include a popularity contest of some sort, which designates 3 girls and 3 boys as places I, II and III "most popular" as chosen by student vote; the candidates have to undergo various entertaining challenges, which usually include pair dancing. Generally speaking, freshmen proms are the more popular, with college freshmen proms often being publicized as club events and promoted by radio stations, who take the opportunity to introduce bands and singers. Whereas graduation proms are more subdued and often not a public or even a school-wide event, many graduating classes choosing to restrict attendance just to the actual graduates and their teachers.
In Russia, Belarus and Ukraine proms are called "Vipusknoy vecher", which literally means "evening of graduation." They take place from the 18th to the 20th or the 23rd to the 25th of June, after all state exams are completed. Proms are never held on the 21st/22nd because they took place on June 21 in 1941, but on the 22nd all graduates were drafted to fight the German invasion during World War II.
First, all graduates receive their atestats (or diplomas). Students with higher marks receive them first.
Afterward, the prom continues as a school ball, traditionally with classic dances. Students may choose restaurants, cafes, or ships rather than school grounds to hold the events. Proms may be held in a Discothèque, but it must start with the school waltz.
At the conclusion of the prom evening, it is tradition to walk the whole night and watch sunrise in the morning (on a hill, if applicable, in Moscow – Sparrow Hills).
In Slovakia, the closest thing to a prom is Stužková, an occasion when the seniors get together with their parents, partners and teachers to celebrate their upcoming graduation. It takes place in November or December. Each of the students receives a green ribbon with their name on it (thus the name Stužková, the Ribbon Ball). The principal and the class teacher are given big green ribbons as well. Many of the students wear this ribbon on their jackets or shirts until graduation. Stužková typically includes a banquet, skits and songs prepared by students, and, of course, dancing. Men wear formal suits and women formal dresses. One week before Stužková is a ceremony of Pečatenie triednej knihy (Sealing of the Class-register) so that teachers will not give bad marks to students before Stužková. It is connected with some story and recorded by cameraman and then put on a DVD of Stužková. It usually starts at 6 p.m. and ends in the early hours of the next morning (4a.m.).
In Slovenia, the equivalent is Maturantski ples. It is held before the final exams between January and May, depending on the region and school. Students can bring dates and/or close family to the ball. It is a custom that each student dances the last dance of the first sequence, a Vienna Walzer, with his mother/her father. There is also a dinner and live music.
In Sweden, this kind of event is usually known as Studentbalen. The word "Studentbalen" is a proper noun meaning "The Student Ball," while the word studentbal is a common noun that can refer to any formal dinner and dance at a Swedish university. Studentbalen is usually held during the final weeks before graduating and can be formal.
The Swiss equivalent of a prom is the bal de printemps. Literally translated, this is a "Spring Ball." At some schools in the German speaking part, its called "Maturaball." This is not always organized by the schools, but sometimes by a student's committee. It takes mostly part before the final exams.
In Turkey, the equivalent is called "Graduation Ball." The type of event and the rules applied are created by the student governments and school boards.It is a tradition of graduation for seniors.
In the United Kingdom, many senior schools had school dances or balls, which from the 1970s were most often called a "school disco." School discos were semi-formal events held at various times of the year, often in the Christmas period. Many schools had a summer ball to celebrate the end of term, but this did not have any of the cultural or social significance of the US prom. School proms were unheard of until the 2000s, but have now become common at state schools due to the influence of US TV shows. Schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland traditionally hold their prom, or "school formal", at the end of compulsory secondary education in Year 11 (ages 15/16) and the end of Sixth Form (aged 18), for those who have continued school.
In Scotland it is usually only held at the end of S6 (ages 17/18) because all high schools in Scotland have pupils up to age 18 years, whereas elsewhere in the UK many students have to go to college to study for A-Levels. Proms are usually held in June, after the end of year exams. At Scottish formal events, boys usually wear kilts (kilts are also often seen in the other Celtic regions) and Highland dress outfitters often sell out in an area around this time of year due to demand from school events. Also in Scotland it is customary for traditional Scottish country dancing (part of the curriculum of all secondary schools) to be included.
North America 
In Canada, most schools have similar traditions to schools in the United States, except that the prom is held only for the graduating class (hence the commonly used synonyms for prom, "grad" and "grad formal"). There is no prom held for Grade 11 (except in the province of Quebec, where grade 11 is the last year). It is strictly a ceremony celebrating students' graduation from high school.
In the United States, some high schools only allow the graduating class (Seniors) to have a prom. Some schools also allow grade 11 (Juniors) to hold a prom, and select high schools even hold proms for Freshmen and Sophomores. In some cases there is a combined Junior/Senior prom. Some American high schools and colleges that do not allow school-sponsored dances will host a Junior/Senior prom as a banquet instead of a dance. Typically, students still dress in formal attire and attend as couples. More and more colleges are hosting proms in recent years, usually as fundraisers for campus organizations such as Ballroom Dance groups, fraternities/sororities, or other organizations.
In Mexico, most High Schools and Junior High (Middle School) have proms only allow the graduating class (Seniors) to have a prom, after a Church service for the graduating class. The students dress in Formal wear and attend in couples. Some Colleges have an after Graduation diner dance.
In Australia and New Zealand, the tradition is similar to schools in the United States. However, if the event is not relegated solely to the final year, it may be described as a Ball, School Formal, or simply Formal. If the event is in the final year of high school, it is sometimes called a Dinner-dance, Leavers' Dinner or Debutante Ball but is also commonly called a School Formal or "Formal." In Australia they also have a Valedictory Dinner, which is like the formal but has students, parents and teachers instead of students and dates.
In addition to the high school graduation "formal" that marks the end of Year 12, there is also an event that is sometimes held to celebrate completing the School Certificate at the end of Year 10, and always held after receiving Higher School Certificate at the end of Year 12 and includes a dinner and dance. In year 11, students occasionally organise a "semi-formal" at the end of the school year, which is a more casual version of a formal. The Valedictory Dinner (or Val as it is colloquially called) is an event that only occurs in Year 12. In New Zealand, most state school balls are held in the winter months, between June and August, while in Australia, a "formal" is held at the end of the year to mark the end of schooling, as is the Valedictory Dinner.
In American Samoa the typical Junior/Senior prom is held in most of the schools, an exception would be one of the private schools, which lets even 8th graders, freshmen, and sophomores participate in prom.
Central and South America and the Caribbean 
In Venezuela, they have prom as well, they call it "promo" derived from prom. It consists of dancing, dinner and live music (depends on what high school you attend).
In Argentina there are also proms or "fiestas de egresados" for students finishing their last year of high school. There are big parties for teenagers in local discos and graduates usually wear costumes to be identified from others. They usually hold formal dinners with parents too, but students dress formally.
In Brazil, bailes de formatura are usual at the end of high school and at college graduation. There is no crowning of a "king" or a "queen," but evening gowns and suits are required. Family may or may not be included, and there may be a live band or DJ hired to command the music.
In Chile, proms, or "fiestas de graduación" (graduation parties), are usually held at convention centers or hotels after the "licenciatura," or graduation from High School. They can also be held after taking the PSU (Chilean University Entrance Exam) in December. Students are expected to dress formally. They are allowed to go with dates, friends, or relatives. They usually start with people dancing a waltz and then dinner. After the dinner, the parents leave, and the dance continues through the night into the next day. Food and alcoholic drinks are available during the party.
In Colombia many private schools usually have prom balls as well, usually consisting of a dinner, dancing, live music, and contests. They are usually held at hotels or clubs.
In Costa Rica, like many other American countries, the "Baile de graduación" is celebrated after finishing High School, where grade 11 is also the last year. It usually takes place before graduation to celebrate the end of school. It's normally held in hotels or saloons with a dance floor, music and dinner. It starts with the students walking through the dance floor and dancing a waltz. The dinner comes after, and the rest of the night consists of dancing and celebration.
In Honduras, they are called "Cena de Graduacion", they are held in luxury hotels, also familiars of the graduating students are invited to the event. The act consists on a formal graduation and deliver of their diplomas, after that, a dinner is held between the graduating students and their familiars or friends in the same room which later will become in a dance floor for everyone. After the Prom, the students rent a limo and take a ride all over their city to make them known as formal graduated students.
In Peru, proms—"Fiesta de Promocion"—are usually held at hotels, convention centers, or big residences. The dress code is formal. Some parents and teachers are often invited, but they don't stay the whole night. Dinner is served as well as alcoholic drinks and delicatessen. Breakfast is often served the next day, at around 6–7 am. There is a growing tradition to hold a "Pre-Prom" for the students in the class below the graduating class, and even a "Pre-pre-Prom" for the students in the class below that.
In Trinidad and Tobago and most Caribbean countries, it is traditional for schools to hold a dance at the end of the CXC/GCE Advanced Level examination period. This is thrown simultaneously for fifth form and upper sixth form students during the months of June or July after the school's official graduation ceremony. It is colloquially referred to as "grad" or "gradz." Most "gradz" are held in popular clubs, hotels, halls or simply on the school's grounds. Most schools allow students to bring dates, and a formal dress code is usually in effect.
In Uruguay, graduation parties are usually held after graduation itself. They may or may be not organised by the school, but by the students itself. Usually a place is rent, and formal parties are held. Students are allowed to take one guest, as a friend or as a partner.
Homeschool proms 
The concept of extending prom to homeschool students has been realized in recent years. Although some school districts in the United States and Canada allow homeschool students to attend the prom in the school district where they reside, many homeschool groups also organize their own prom. Some states, such as Oregon and Michigan, also host statewide homeschool proms, which any homeschool student in that state is welcome to attend.
Proms that are specifically geared toward homeschool students can sometimes be significantly different from traditional high school proms. It is not uncommon for a homeschool student to attend a homeschool prom solo, for example, rather than taking a date. In some cases, parents may also attend with their sons or daughters. However, in many cases homeschool proms are very similar to public school proms.
Adult proms 
An adult prom is a social event that is almost perfectly similar to a high school prom in terms of themes and attire, except that adult proms usually serve alcohol, and most require those attending to be at least 21 years of age to attend.
They have become increasingly common, especially in the United States, and usually are hosted as fundraisers for charities.
A slightly different take on the adult prom is that of the disabilities prom, dedicated to providing a prom experience to disabled adults at no charge to the attendees. These events are most often organized by non-profit organizations focusing on the disabled, or large churches.
Other prom-themed events 
Sometimes, individuals re-create a prom-themed party either for themselves or a friend who didn't get to attend his or her prom.
Drew Barrymore has been known to host "prom parties" on at least two occasions, having once stated in an interview with Conan O'Brien in the late 1990s that she threw one for herself one time because she had always wanted a prom, but didn't get the chance, having not finished high school. In 2007, Barrymore threw a prom-themed birthday party for a close friend who had missed her senior prom.
In 2010, Theatrical producers in New York produced an audience participation theatrical play, set in an actual dance hall, called The Awesome 80s Prom, where attendees were at a prom and got to vote on the king and queen from the cast of characters.
Anti-proms and alternative proms 
Anti-proms are private, unofficial proms that are privately created, outside the control of the school, usually by people who disagree with their school's prom policies.
Adult proms for gay and lesbian adults who could not attend their prom with a date of the same sex are popular in some cities. A 1980 court decision required public schools to allow same-sex dates.
Over the course of history, proms have been the source of many controversies, many of which involve LGBT students.
- In 2002, gay teenager Marc Hall was prohibited from taking his male date to his high school's dance; Hall sued the school board and won.
- In 2009, Tyler Frost was suspended for attending his girlfriend's prom, because his Christian high school disallowed dancing. Although the principal at Frost's school signed a paper allowing Frost to attend the prom, he said Frost would be suspended if he went, but Frost did so anyway.
- In 2010, lesbian high school senior Constance McMillen requested to take her girlfriend to the prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School, where they were both students. The principal denied her request and prohibited her from wearing a tuxedo. When McMillen challenged the school's policy, the prom was canceled, leading McMillen to sue the school. Following a court decision forcing the school to hold the prom, local parents organized a second prom in secret, leaving Constance, her girlfriend and only 5 other students at the "official" prom.
Proms today are an iconic, integral part of the high school experience. They come complete with stretch limos, fancy ballrooms, live bands, kings and queens, and, most importantly, dresses worthy of movie stars. However, proms have not always been the elaborate, inclusive show they are today. Many scholars[who?] believe that high school proms emerged from the popularity of upper-class debutante balls in high society. At these balls, girls in white dresses and white gloves were proudly escorted into a grand hall for their official introduction to the social dating scene. Invitations were exclusive and official debutantes were few and far between. Indeed, the word prom is short for promenade, or the grand marching beginning to an immensely important social event.
Early proms 
In the early days of high school proms, the nighttime dance served a similar function to a debutante ball. Early proms were times of firsts; the first adult social event for teenagers, the first time taking the family car out after dark, the first real dress-up affair, and so forth. Proms also served as picture-taking events, similar to a first communion or wedding, in which the participants were taking an important step into a new stage in their lives. In earlier days, the prom may have also served as an announcement of engagement for the “best couple” after the prom court had been crowned and recognized.
While high school yearbooks did not start covering proms and including prom pictures until the 1930s and 1940s, historians believe proms may have existed at colleges as early as the late 1800s. The journal of a male student at Amherst College in 1894 accounts an invitation and trip to an early prom at neighboring Smith College for women. The word prom at that time may just have been a fancy description for an ordinary junior or senior class dance, but it soon took on larger-than-life meaning for high school students.
20th century 
Proms worked their way down from college gatherings to high school extravaganzas incrementally. In the early 1900s, prom was a simple tea dance where high school seniors wore their Sunday best. In the 1920s and 1930s, prom expanded into an annual class banquet where students wore party clothes and danced afterward. As Americans gained more money and leisure time in the 1950s, proms became more extravagant and elaborate, bearing similarity to today’s proms. The high school gym may have been an acceptable setting for sophomore dances, but junior and senior proms gradually moved to hotel ballrooms and country clubs. Competition blossomed, as teens strove to have the best dress, the best mode of transportation, and the best looking date. Competition for the prom court also intensified, as the designation of “prom queen” became an important distinction of popularity. In a way, prom became the pinnacle event of a high school student’s life, the ultimate dress rehearsal for a wedding.
21st century 
Today, prom continues to be a notable event in the social climate of high schools. Popular movies and novels attest to the importance of prom themes, prom dates, and prom queens. In some areas, the traditions of prom are not as rigid as they used to be, with some areas allowing individuals or groups to attend instead of couples.
See also 
- Carrie (1976 film)
- Charitable prom organizations
- Prom (film)
- Prom Night (1980 film)
- Prom Night (2008 film)
Further reading 
- "Prom An Iconic American Tradition". 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Carlos, Amanda (2010-04-29). "Carlos Commentary: Summit students enjoy a successful prom". Fontana Herald News. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- "Hudson High Prom Court Nominations". Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "Nominations Should be Based Upon More than Popularity". Retrieved 2013-02-25.
- http://glendalehigh.com/images09/prom-court-IMG_7356.jpg |accessdate=2013-05-15
- ""Prom" vs. "The Prom"". 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
- "District 155 Guidelines". 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
- Roxana Hegeman (2013-05-01). "Kansas school apologizes to Airman in prom dispute". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "DUI Prom Bus Driver Charged". 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "The soaring cost of prom: By the numbers - Yahoo! News". News.yahoo.com. 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "Prom After Party". 2013-05-18. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "Senior Tips for Attending Post Prom". DEHS Post Prom. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- "Walt Whitman High School Post Prom Page". Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "Swiss Teens Celebrate Spring With ‘Bal de Printemps’". Ypulse. 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- Pyke, Nicholas; Bloomfield, Steve (2004-07-11). "The high school prom arrives in UK (via stretch limo, naturally)". The Independent (London).
- "Dress - In Stock - $13997". Dressgoddess.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- By AskMen.com Editors. "Drew Barrymore's prom party". AskMen.com. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- "Girl gets second chance to attend prom". turnto10.com. 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- "The Awesome 80s Prom New York City.com : Broadway Tickets : Editorial Review". Nyc.com. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- 9:41 a.m. ET (2009-03-07). "Gays, lesbians recreate prom at weekend fete". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- "CBC News – Gay teen wins fight over Catholic prom". Cbc.ca. 2002-05-22. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- 3:45 p.m. ET (2009-05-11). "Teen suspended for going to girlfriend's prom". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- Joyner, Chris (2010-03-22). "Lesbian gets day in court over nixed prom". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- "McMillen: I Was Sent to Fake Prom". Advocate.Com. 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
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