Prom dreams

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Before school ends for the summer and before the seniors in high school walk across a stage, shake the hand of their principal and receive their diplomas, there is a rite of passage that most students must endure: the junior-senior prom.

From powder-blue tuxedos with ruffles and pink taffeta prom dresses to today's sleek suits and gowns, many elements of prom have changed.

Local residents Becky Goodrich and Denise Pearson remembered their senior prom in 1975.

"The big thing back then was the ruffled shirts and baby blues," Pearson said.

Goodrich cautiously admitted that her date was wearing a powder-blue tux.

"But it was wonderful, I had a great time," she said.

That year the prom was at Thunderhead Lodge and students dined on a dinner provided for them at a banquet. After the prom, there was a breakfast for the boys and girls organized by the parents.

"We always had a junior-senior banquet. Now the kids go out and spend some major money," Pearson said.

When asked about the cost of prom this year, Steamboat Springs High School senior Rusty Eck said he's going to take the easy way out.

"I'm taking my date to McDonald's, it will cost like $7," he said with a laugh.

Though joking, of course, Eck's comments alluded to the large chunk of change some prom-goers fork over to pay for the evening.

Senior Ryan Wattles estimated that with a tuxedo, ticket to the dance and dinner the whole extravaganza will cost him about $200.

"Yeah, it's going to be a pain putting it all together," Wattles said, who has saved money from working last summer to pay for the evening.

However, both the boys said the night will be worth the money they spend.

For the girls, it's no free ride either, even if their dates are picking up the tab for the dinner and dance. Junior Cassidy Kurtz said the girls buy their prom dresses, which can run from about $100 to $300, depending on the dress. Plus, she said most girls pay to get their hair done.

"But I feel bad if they pay for everything else," she said.

More money isn't the only element of the prom that has changed through the years. School counselor Lynette Lochausen said now there are more expectations about staying out all night after prom. Some students get condos for the evening or go to parties and often it's a let down for some of young people.

"I talk to the kids afterwards, and they say it isn't that great," she said.

Parents who were concerned about unsupervised parties and the lack of options out there for students who want to stay out late may have solved the problems. Last year, parents organized an after-prom party at the high school and it was such a hit they have decided to make it an annual event. The party has games and activities in a carnival-like atmosphere.

"Our intent is to provide a fun and safe environment to the kids after prom," parent Marilyn Simon said.

"Last year it was fun," sophomore Amy Fox said. "There was a lot of things to do."

Students are drawn to the party for many reasons.

There is a drawing with as many as 100 prizes from oil changes to DVD players, VCRs and an $800 cash prize.

The after-prom party runs from 12:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. after the prom on May 5.

"We save the best event for last," Simon said.

At the end of the night, a hypnotist brings about 15 students on stage and hypnotizes them.

"Last year, it was the funniest thing anyone had ever seen," Simon said.

Some students acted like they were eating an ice cream cone and it was dripping all over their hand, while others were hypnotized to believe they were from another planet and spoke in a strange language.

"For me, I feel so fortunate to be involved with this," Simon said.

"This is something they will keep as memories."

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