Student Newspaper of Merrill F. West High School

The Zephyr

The ‘Pack Packed Prom

Valli Ford, Opinion Editor

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Prom is a time for everyone to party the night away, students and teachers alike. It also calls for a night of celebration, given that it’ll be one of the last momentous occasions of a high schooler’s life before they leave it all behind and head off to college in the adult world. Just as they themselves were once students, some teachers on our campus were prom goers as well.

History teacher Mr. Tom Haim went to prom at Marin Academy during the year 1991. The event took place at “a really nice hotel ballroom in San Francisco.” It was a populated prom, with a good percentage of juniors and seniors that attended, for a small school. The people who attended got there on their own, where they only had to pay for the bid to be able to enter. “I remember that there were three couples [with me.] We met up at someone’s house, and we each split the money for a limo. I remember being broke after prom.” As he could recall, his favorite memory of prom was an interesting one, as he went to prom not with a date, but with a female friend. “We made a deal that we had to dance to at least one song, and the song that was playing at the time was ‘Can’t Touch This’ by MC Hammer, and if you knew anything about [my] generation at the time, it was really popular.” As he was dancing the night away with his friend, he was really in tune with the song’s beat. “I’m not much of a dancer, but I had a really good 3-4 minutes of dancing, and it was so good that the dance floor cleared. Never danced well since.” To this day, Haim still knows all the words to the song, and it was a good experience for him all in all.

English teacher Ms. Melissa Rotondi also went to prom, but at a different high school. She went to prom at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs, during the year 1987. It was located in Sacramento, at a hotel called the Red Lion Inn. “There was a sit down dinner, and it was one of those things that had everything included.” Like Haim, Rotondi’s prom was also populated, with all juniors and seniors who had attended. “When I went, we took a limo. Parents paid for it, I can’t remember how much it was. There was a total of six of us in my group.” Her best experience while there was being with friends, having fun, laughing and just having a fun time in general. Overall, her prom experience was great and lots of fun.

Unlike Rotondi and Haim, Math teacher Ms. Annette Feldman did not go to prom at William Howard Taft High School. “When I graduated in the early 70’s, we were right in the middle of the Anti-War, and prom was a rigid establishment. There were still gender roles, like for prom kings and queens, etc. Those who believed in counterculture didn’t go, and they did their own thing.” Since she did not go, Feldman did other things that weren’t school oriented, but not as a way to celebrate. “I ended up going to a college prep school. Over there, there were still cliques, like jocks and kids in sororities. I was in the other group of kids and we hung out and had fun. I knew a lot of kids there that had counterculture.” At Taft High School, it was considered a big deal to attend prom for those that went. “Our school had homecoming parades, and for those who did go, they would talk about what they wanted to wear. It was a small prom, with everything being factionalized by a smaller faction.” Since Feldman always did various activities on the weekend, she enjoyed not being in school for prom.

Along with Feldman, English teacher Mr. Howard Alford did not go to prom at Livermore High. “I didn’t know anyone that I felt close enough with to take with me back in the 70s. It was a couples only prom. If you wanted to go alone, they wouldn’t allow it. Those were the rules of prom, but it’s a good thing that those days are over.” Since he didn’t go to prom, Alford worked that night at a steakhouse called Parker’s as an assistant cook. It was also considered a big deal to go to prom at Livermore High. “Back then, there weren’t as many things to do as there are now. It was a big celebration at the end of the school year.” Looking back on his time in high school, Alford was fond of it. “It was nice. The 60s were pretty stormy. Every teacher tried to connect what was going on in the world with what was in the classroom. I was a music student, and we had a great program with 130 students in it. If you took that class, you got to meet 130 people.” Although he enjoyed his time outside of school, Alford looked back on what he could have done. “I didn’t think much about it at the time. Rules were rules…thinking back, I really would have liked to have gone, since I had a lot of female friends.”

With each generation of high school students, comes a new generation of prom festivities. Party hard, ‘Pack.

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The ‘Pack Packed Prom