Students nationwide are putting more effort than ever into prom, and local teens are no exception after a survey revealed Effingham High School juniors and seniors are spending an average of $374.41 for the special day.
The figure doesn’t shock Effingham High School senior Bayleigh Stockman.
“I thought the survey would show prom costing a lot more,” she said, adding $1,500 would be an excessive amount.
After a national study showed teens spending more than $900 per student to attend prom, EHS math instructor Shae Westendorf suggested to her classes they perform a local survey.
“When I was in high school, I don’t remember anything like this,”said Westendorf, who graduated from St. Anthony High School a decade ago.
Westendorf blames social media, such as Pinterest, for upping the showmanship of the event.
“Before social media, you took one picture with your date that nobody else really ever saw,” she said.
Today’s high school students, however, want to be seen.
“All the girls want to make sure they have a unique dress,” said Stockman. “Everyone wants to look the best.”
Stockman will begin preparing for prom at 10 a.m. Saturday. After purchasing a tanning package, $500 dress, teeth whitening and updo for her hair, she said prom is all about going big.
Guys are also going to greater lengths to stand out at prom. Senior Casey Holle is wearing an all-white tuxedo and likes the trend of bow ties.
“You have to make the girl happy, like a guy should,” said Holle.
Not only is the style big, so is the proposal.
Stockman’s prom date, Alec Stevenson, had plans earlier this week to ask her to the event by taking his Jeep off road and writing his proposal in mud on the vehicle.
What has become known as promposal swept EHS this year as young men asked their prospective dates in grandiose style. According to the survey, students asked in the most clever — and public — way possible, from holding up a poster in the lunch room, to writing the question in a soccer goal net, to displaying it in class, to posing it on a ferry during a band trip to New York.
“In all honesty, if you go to great lengths when you ask, she is probably going to say yes,” said Holle.
But not everyone is going to prom. Of the 217 who returned the survey, 165 plan to attend prom while 52 do not, with a portion citing cost as the reason.
Lauren Fox was asked to prom. However, the sophomore was unsure about spending several hundred dollars as an underclassman. She admitted much of the decision came down to mom and dad, and she agrees.
“I feel like it is worth the money for seniors, but it costs too much for freshman and sophomores,” she said.
Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ednthuffman.