Senior prom is the moment many high school students look forward to most out of their entire four years of high school. Prom is the last chance to dress up, dance and celebrate with your class before graduation. The memories created at senior prom last throughout your life. The Ursuline-Jesuit prom is one of the best traditions our brother-sister school bond provides. In fact, social studies teacher Jeffrey Girard, a Jesuit alumnus, English teacher Kathleen Schenck, an Ursuline alumna and theology teacher Ann Middendorf, another Ursuline alumna, still remember their own senior proms today.
Girard’s senior prom took place in 2001. The theme of prom that year was either Paris-themed or Night Under the Stars. “It was something along those lines,” Girard said. The formal event was located at the Cityplace tower off of Highway 75 in Uptown Dallas.
Girard’s date was his girlfriend, who he knew from club swimming. They started dating when he was a sophomore. She was not very happy with Mr. Girard’s prom attire, as he decided he wanted to stand out and do something different.
“Every accessory I wore was red, so I wore a red blinking bowtie, red suspenders and red shoes with my tuxedo.” Girard did not tell his date what he was wearing, so she was caught off guard by his rather red look when they met for pictures. “I’m pretty sure our colors clashed,” Girard said, laughing.
Girard’s strongest memory from his senior prom stems from almost not being let into the dance. While most of Girard’s group arrived in a limo, one of the members of his group and his date were late. To be let into the dance, they all had to come in as a group and be there by a certain time.
“We didn’t have cell phones at the time, so it was very stressful not knowing if they were going to make it or not,” Girard said. Luckily, his friend and his date arrived right at 6:59pm, so Girard’s group of friends were let into prom. “If my friend would have been pulled over for speeding, it wouldn’t have been good,” Girard laughed.
Girard does not remember which song he was most looking forward to dancing to. “I was just pumped to dance and be an idiot in a red outfit,” he said. He does remember a few slow songs being played. “I wasn’t into it,” he said.
Girard has chaperoned Ursuline and Jesuit prom, and when comparing it to his own prom, he feels that for the most part prom is still the same. Though there are a few differences that surprise him.
“A limo was the greatest thing when I went to prom,” Girard said. “Now, you guys use Uber or get a party bus.” Additionally, the use of cell phones makes it much easier to communicate and organize all the moving pieces.
Schenck’s senior prom took place in 1997. With her boyfriend at the time as her date, she wore a long, sleeveless black dress that tied around the neck. In total 90s fashion, Schenck wore long black gloves to compliment her prom look.
Schenck fondly recalls dancing with her friends to anything by Madonna. “It was one of our last big school events together before we graduated,” she said. “It was bittersweet!”
In comparison to her own prom, Schenck feels that prom now is much bigger. “Our dances felt much smaller,” she noted.
Additionally, she has noticed how much fashion has shifted in the current prom attire. “I think our dresses in the 90s were much more conservative.”
Middendorf’s strongest memory about her senior prom is not going to prom at all. “I went to prom my sophomore and junior year,” Middendorf said. “I didn’t go my senior year because I broke up with my boyfriend and wanted to go off to college free—no strings attached,” she laughed.
“I went to one of the proms as a blind date and I ended up dating the guy for a year,” Middendorf said. Both dances she attended were located at the downtown Hilton Hotel.
Middendorf’s prom look consisted of a full length, pink taffeta ball gown. She wore flowers in her hair to top it off. “I loved it!” Middendorf said. She did not have a favorite song that she was looking forward to dancing to. “I was also feeling a little shy,” she said. However, she did dance to “1999” by Prince. “The dance floor was wild!” Middendorf said. The slow song she remembers being played was “Sailing” by Christopher Cross.
Middendorf has also chaperoned Ursuline and Jesuit prom. Comparing her own prom to today’s, she wishes that there had been card games back then like there are now. “I wish there were things to do in addition to dancing,” Middendorf said. Continuing the comparison, she said, “However, we didn’t leave so early from the dance, and we actually danced but didn’t just slam each other.”
Girard and Middendorf believe that prom is an essential part of high school. “Even though I did not take prom very seriously, it was still the last big event I got to go to with my girlfriend at the end of my senior year,” Girard said.
“It is a high school rite of passage in the Ursuline and Jesuit community,” Middendorf said.
“Prom is a tradition and a milestone of growing up and getting ready to enter the adult world of socializing,” Schenck said. “I think it’s fun to dress up and do something different and special with your class. It is making memories!”
With that in mind, the class of 2020 is destined to make lifelong memories at their senior prom as they dance the night away together for one last time. Although prom has been postponed due to COVID-19, it is sure to be a night the seniors will cherish forever.
Images courtesy of Jeff Girard and Kate Schenck