Prom, a night to remember

The senior prom: A rite of passage for graduating seniors, their last hurrah and one of their last bonding moments together as a class before going out into the world.

Her: Will he ask me? Will I be able to find the perfect dress? What should I do with my hair - I think I'll put it up. Oh my God, I don't have the right shoes. These earrings might work. I need a manicure, pedicure and facial. I want to wear my hair down. Should I go tanning? Oh no, a zit.

Him: I hope she says yes.

Yes, the prom can be a little stressful for teenagers, what with all that pressure to get it right - but for most, it's simply a pull-out-all-the-stops chance to get dressed up and have fun with friends.

The Mount Si High School senior prom is Saturday, June 3, from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Odyssey Maritime Museum at Pier 66 on the Seattle waterfront.

This year's theme is "Come Sail Away," chosen to coordinate with the location of the event. Tickets are $35 each or $70 per couple. About 400 students are expected to attend the event, which will be chaperoned by eight or more MSHS staff members and their dates/spouses.

Dr. Gayle Smith, senior class advisor, said the class of 2006 has been raising money for senior events since members were freshmen. "Most of the prom expense will be financed with the ticket sales, but the difference in sales and costs will be covered by the funds raised during their four years at high school."

The prom was organized by five senior class officers who orchestrated all the details, including finding the location, hiring a photographer and making catering decisions.

No prom is complete without the time-honored tradition of crowning a king and queen. Seven couples have been nominated for royalty. Seniors vote for their choices before the prom and the king and queen will be crowned at the event.

Corsages are still "in," according to Ann Marie Whitaker of Down to Earth [floral shop] in Snoqualmie. Sales are up over last year, she said, adding that teenagers come in knowing what they want. Wrist corsages are favored over pin-on corsages, and they sell plenty of boutonnieres for the young men.

Senior Devyn Limestall is going to the prom with her friend Michael Murphy and has already taken care of the biggest detail. "I went dress shopping with my friends," she said, "and found a black and white floral dress."

Murphy is in charge of organizing a group of graduating seniors and planning the dinner, which is proving difficult to arrange with 16 people with different ideas. Limestall is so excited about the prom she doesn't care what restaurant they go to. "I just want to have fun," she said. They plan to see the Pink Floyd laser show after the prom.

"Prom," a shortened version of the word "promenade," was first used in the 1890s in reference to the formal dances held at the time. Proms were first held in America in the 1920s and by the 1930s, they were common across the country.

Janice (nee Carmichael) Crouch, Mount Si High School Class of 1958, recalled her senior prom 48 years ago. Hers was the first freshman class to enter and graduate from the "new" high school (the old one being the current administration building). There were 72 graduating seniors that year.

"The theme was 'Exotica - An Evening in Tropical Paradise'" she said, laughing as she remembered. "It was held in the cafeteria because we didn't have a gym yet. It was $5 a couple and we had a live band, the Gene Atkens Orchestra."

The prom was held in the spring back then, and Janice was getting married a week after her graduation, so "my mind was really on that more than the prom," she explained. She attended the prom with her fiancé Ron, now her husband of 48 years.

Janice wore a black taffeta skirt with a white sweater, jewelry and high heels. Ron, attired in a jacket and nice slacks, fastened her corsage on and they danced the night away, staying until the very end. "After the prom, we went to the Gateway Cafe [where the QFC parking lot is now], and we all had breakfast ... it was so much fun," Janice said. "I enjoyed all my high-school years."

Other class of 2006 senior activities include the Senior Tea, held May 25; and Senior Awards Night, to be held June 5.

The Class of 2006, comprised of about 300 seniors, will graduate on Thursday, June 15, in the Mount Si High School gymnasium.

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