School formal

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Students ready for their formal.

A school formal or school ball is an event held during the school year for students in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand high schools. Formals are generally organised and run by a student committee, the members of which volunteer to do so. Formals are usually held for students in the final year of high school. Year 12 (New Zealand Year 13), although some schools also have Year 11 (NZ Year 12) or even Year 10 (NZ Year 11) formals. Smaller schools may hold formals which cater for more than one of these year groups at one time.

The term "formal" has also become popular in the United Kingdom. In Ireland the word "Debs" is preferred. In Canada, the use of the term "formal" is being replaced with "prom".

As the name suggests, attire for the occasion is generally formal. Boys will usually dress in a Suit and tie. Girls traditionally wear formal gowns or dresses.

In most cases a school formal is held at a local reception centre or ballroom. A multicourse meal is generally provided. After the meal students generally dance to popular music played by a hired DJ or sometimes a band.

Many students group together to go to the formal in a limousine. While parents do not attend a formal, teachers act as chaperones for the formal and security guards are sometimes hired. The use of chaperones is intended to prevent the occurrence of violence and alcohol or drug use. Generally after a formal, one or more after-parties are held.