Prom History

As prom season for Woodbridge High School moves closer, it is important to recognize its history.


According to Jovani, The origin of this whimsical and romanticized event began in the middle 1800’s at colleges and universities with the intention to promote social etiquette for each graduating class. Furthermore, prom can be linked to the annual Ivy League tradition of presentation week, during which students would dress in formal attire and participate in a promenade concert. Eventually, this event was carried into high school where prom is more commonly held today. 


In its early stages, prom was held in the gym and gave students the chance to enjoy tea and other beverages, small desserts, and dancing under the surveillance of chaperones. According to Time, in the 1950s, a thriving postwar economy allowed for the expansion of this event; instead of the traditional gymnasium, prom was held in hotels, country clubs, and ballrooms. This allowed for the event to become one of the most cherished traditions that high school students look forward to, and it has carried on a legacy that will not be easily overlooked. 


However, as with every tradition, societal standards have evolved with modern times. Cultural norms continue to improve with each generation; despite historical protests against cultural changes involving race, gender, or sexuality, events like prom have become more accepting and have grown with the transformation of society. Now, after surviving a pandemic, it is important to keep this idea in mind with COVID. Be mindful of the choices of others and respect the concerns and privacy of other students. Remember that the virus is extremely contagious and still spreading, so make smart decisions. 


With the anticipation of prom, Woodbridge students should be reminded of its history and how far this and other social events have come. It is a privilege to attend such events, especially after a pandemic, and all students must be reminded of this importance.