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Should Schools Assign Prom Dates?

An Illinois high school randomly pairs up teens so that no one gets left out. Should everyone follow its lead?

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Prom: It’s a word that takes adults back to one of the best nights of their lives, and teenagers are eager to finally experience the event for themselves. After all, we have spent years listening to older peers’ prom stories and watching the momentous night play out in movies and television shows.

It’s no secret that your date plays a significant role in making the night so great. Being assigned someone to go with could ruin that!

Of course, prom is about more than just your date. Many people consider prom to be the final send-off from childhood as well as a night to cherish all of the friendships that have been made throughout those years. People love prom because it’s a chance to hang out with classmates and savor the time left together before graduation.

But still, you can’t deny that your date plays a huge role in making the evening enjoyable—and it’s crucial that you like the person! Between taking photos, riding in a limo, and dancing, you spend a lot of time together. So why tarnish the tradition or take the fun out of prom by letting schools choose your date for you?

An assigned date turns prom night into an awkward exchange of asking “getting to know you” questions. That doesn’t sound like fun. In fact, it’s reminiscent of the first day of school, when you’re required to interview someone in your class to make a new friend.

If schools start assigning dates, kids won’t be as excited to go to their prom. They might even have a bad attitude going into the night, since the student that they’ll be paired with for the evening could be a complete stranger. Who knows: That person may not even like you, or you may not like them!

Choosing prom dates is a classic tradition. It’s absurd that a teenager wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to the dance with the person of their choosing. We’ve earned the right to have some fun on prom night, so don’t take that away from us!

Prom is supposed to be enjoyable, but it can often end up turning into one of the most stressful times of the year. You have to navigate through a number of tough questions: Who do you ask? If you are asked by more than one person, who should you pick? And if you aren’t asked, then what do you do?

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Assigning dates can help kids focus on just having fun in those weeks leading up to prom. Students may even be more willing to attend knowing that no one would be left out.

An assigned-date system could also foster new friendships if you end up being matched with someone you’ve never talked to before. In my English class this year, I was paired up with someone I hardly knew for a group project. At first I was really nervous, but once we started talking and sharing more about ourselves, we became closer. Now we’re best friends, and it’s all because we were matched to work together.

In addition to nixing stress and helping you meet cool new people, assigned dates would also eliminate the expensive and high-pressure promposals you see on Instagram and Snapchat. All the energy (and money!) you spend planning the perfect promposal could go toward something else, like extracurricular activities or schoolwork.

Sure, you might not end up being paired with your crush, but you can still hang out with your BFFs and have the best time ever. The only thing missing from an assigned-date prom night? Extra stress. Sign me up!

Luck of the Draw: At This High School, Tradition Continues From 1920s | NBC Nightly News
Duration: 1:59 | At this high school, prom dates are chosen by raffle.
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