Each year, about half of Palo Alto High School students travel to a four-hour event, which we all know and love as Prom. As a junior, this was my first year at Prom, and I have to say, although it was fun, it did not quite live up to all the hype of being “sold-out” and the $300+ price tag (once all expenses were accounted for).
Here’s my take on my “Night at the museum”:
The bus loading itself was smooth. No complaints there. Maybe it was just me, but our bus was situated directly in the sun, and waiting for 20 minutes in the Paly parking lot was not fun. The ride to the city was fast. Probably unexpectedly fast because we arrived at the Exploratorium at 7:10 p.m. Great! An extra 50 minutes of Prom, right? Nope, we circled through the surrounding neighborhood for almost an hour because we were not allowed to enter the museum early. As conversation topics were quickly depleted, more students turned to their phones for entertainment and the buzz of excitement lessened. Not quite the beginning to Prom I expected.
I have to say, overall, the Exploratorium was an excellent choice. It provided activities for that awkward time before people started dancing and for those who preferred not to dance. Activities included magnets to play with, shadow pictures, a distorted mirror and even balancing a rod with a changing center of gravity, which seemed identical to a lab I did in physics class. Leave it to Paly to make Prom educational, am I right? My only complaint was that although the venue was large, a long hallway full of exhibits and tables led to an atrium, the dance floor itself was small and ran into tables and activities. The patio outside, however, spanned practically the length of the whole museum and provided fresh air and a break from the noise.
Despite the promising start of kettle chips and a wide variety of beverages, the food was definitely a low point of Prom. I’m sorry, but falafel burgers topped with cucumbers and five types of weird cold noodles are not Prom food. I’m pretty sure mini pizzas or even plain bread would have been more popular among students. Maybe I missed something, but besides the wide variety of desserts which I did not have, there was not much choice in foods. Although the root beer floats and mac-and-cheese were good, my friends and I went home very hungry. In my opinion, $100+ tickets should have paid for a filling meal.
The D.J. did a good job of building excitement and making the dance lively and fun, but some of the song choices were interesting to say the least. Despite the D.J.’s disclaimer that he tried to accommodate all requests and that all the songs he played were songs that someone actually wanted, he mixed it up a little too much and veered away from good dancing songs. For example, although country music may be great for square dancing, it is not good Prom music. I did think the D.J. played the right amount of slow music and picked good songs for those dances. Finally, props to the D.J. for ending with “Let it Go” from everyone’s favorite movie.
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
I definitely had a great time. Prom is the best Paly event I have been to, and the positive aspects of the event by far outweighed any negative ones. My biggest regret was not bringing extra shoes. I know. I thought I could pull off four hours in heels, but it is harder than it looks. Although the night itself will slip farther into the past, I will remember it fondly or at least be reminded of it by those who only change their Facebook profile pictures once a year, conveniently on the day after prom.