July 24 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, June 19, 2014
The school prom has become a teenage rite of passage. Reporter Sophie Biddle finds out why and looks for tips on enjoying the perfect prom night.
As the summer months arrive and exams come to an end, the craze for fairytale proms is increasingly taking hold of excited students.
However, no longer are stylish suits and glamorous gowns enough just to impress, the battle for the most outlandish transport has become the one to win. This is all, unsurprisingly, coming at a cost to parents.
Amanda Steed, owner of Bawdeswell-based company Amanda Steed Make Up, said she had seen an increasing and tremendous demand from teenagers in her eight years of business. She added: “Parents are willing to spend quite a lot. Youngsters now want the airbrush make-up that is used in photo shoots. This lasts for the parties after the prom.” She said the growing trend was due to the increasing influence of American-culture, where Prom Night was a “really big deal”. “Young people want their one time to shine,” she added.
Aylsham High School has held a prom every year since 1984. Susie Hebditch, head of German and prom organiser since 1994, was enthusiastic about the experience. She said: “I want the last memory of school to be something lovely, not of their last exam.” Miss Hebditch, who is arranging the prom at Wolterton Hall, confessed she was particular when it came to the finer details, adding: “We use proper glassware and plates. Other schools may worry about the students smashing them, but anyone who knows me knows that paper plates would not do.”
Students compete to win the prize for the most original arrival. Some of the most unusual have been helicopters, horse and carts and even a hot tub. She described how some students had pleaded to arrive by parachute, but joked that: “Their landing would not be exact, they might arrive in the next field.”
Quirky car hire is just one of the elements that play a part in the prom experience. Kevin Kitteridge, head of Silverline Limousines and car hire, said pupils wanted “the wackiest transport you can get”. A Hummer, which he said was the only one available to hire in Norfolk, and the Scooby Doo “Mystery Machine” were their most popular vehicles.
Mr Kitteridge, whose most recent trip was to Stalham High for their Leavers Day, said: “There are not enough vehicles for the demand. People ring you up afterwards saying what a brilliant time they’ve had when they only spent about 30 minutes on their way to school in the ride.”
Suzie Sharp, communication officer and prom organiser at North Walsham High School, explained how their prom committee made “all the key decisions”. And the students fund-raised all year round to afford extras such as a chocolate fountain and a balloon arch.
Girls should decide well in advance what they will be wearing. Many dresses have to be shipped in from the US or China and will need altering.
Tell the company you buy your dress from the name of your school. This will ensure you do not end up in the same dress as another girl.
And for the boys . . .
If dressing up is not your thing, then arrive in something outrageous. So many options can be explored.
If you are nervous about asking a girl on a date, the worst she can say is no. So just go for it.
She said: “I think proms have always been fairly popular. We have a pretty big uptake. We see the most amazing dresses and the most weird and wonderful ways of getting there.” These included tractors, buses and, the most popular, VW Campervans, she added. But the rise of school proms has not always sat well with everyone, with some criticising them for being over the top and putting financial pressure on already stretched parents.
• We want your school prom pictures. We are planning a special school prom supplement in July. If you want to send us pictures from your child’s event, log on to iwitness24.co.uk, email email@example.com or tweet @edp24 or @eveningnews