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Carol Perkins: Prom. I feel it in the air

Junior Proms can be extreme affairs. They bring out the best in students (usually). As a sponsor for one class, the writer remembers the most elaborate was one with an Egyptian theme, with a gigantic King Tut, that Metcalfe County High School held at the Cave City Convention Center. She's foggy on the year, but remembers every detail including the show stopping Chippendalesque "Eye of the Tiger" skit mishap. Thing was, it wasn't an accident. Next earlier: Carol Perkins: The Library
The writer, Carol Perkins, and co-host Susan Shirley have a new radio show: Carol and Susan-Unscripted on 99.1 FM the Hoss every Wednesday night form 5pm-7pmCT and again on Sunday from 4pm-6pmCT) No promise they will reveal the names of the Cave City prom perps - then, though every reader of the story will be left wondering who they are, and have a right to know, now that the statute of limitations is past. Readers will just have to listen in. - CM

By Carol Perkins

Prom. I feel it in the air. Formals hang on hooks behind their closet doors on hooks because they are too long for the closet, and tuxedos are somewhere waiting for pickup. Hopefully, the pants won't be too long or the shoes too large. The details are important.


Each year, of course, the theme of the prom is very important and students often find inspiration in popular songs. I remember the year that "The Rose" was the main song for most proms. Stumps and Anderson are companies that supply prom decorations and offer many props and favors that merely need putting together. These decorations can cost thousands of dollars and take hours of assembly time, but the end results are worth the money and the trouble. After all, how many formal affairs do students have during their years of education? Very few.

When I was teaching, the sponsorship of a junior class was a dreaded position that came around every four years. I began with a class and followed them until graduation. That meant my fellow sponsors and I were in charge of fundraising and organizing activities. When we got the seniors out the door, we started over with freshmen and for two years could relax.

The same group of teachers (we had few turnovers back then) worked together and became like family to our class. We were their mentors, helping them with scholarship forms, writing recommendations, and even bought prom tickets when they couldn't afford them. This is how close we were to our classes.

Some of our themes were elaborate, but the most elaborate one was an Egyptian theme complete with a gigantic King Tut. That year the prom was at the Cave City Convention Center and we were given a day to decorate. That meant the sponsors and a bus load of students spent time stringing lights, covering tables, preparing the backdrop for the stage, and putting the final touches on King Tut. We turned that huge area into an foreign land.

We also were in charge of a thirty-minute skit that consisted of singing, dancing, jokes, and whatever we could come up with to entertain the seniors. Each class tried to have the best program, and sometimes outdoing the last class was difficult.

I am foggy on the year, but students involved will remember the skit we did that ended with a group of young men who were to come through the crowd as the closing act to the theme of "The Eye of the Tiger." These guys were outfitted in striped robes and played their parts during practice, and as Susan Chambers and I watched from stage left, we smiled that night as they entered from all sides of the candlelit area and saw the look on students' faces as they turned from left to right, watching these guys rock their way to the stage.

What came next was a showstopper, and we had no curtain to pull down on them or microphone to unplug. Suddenly, off came the robes and left the guys with nothing underneath except for their skimpy briefs. Speedos would be more exact. The laughter, some of it the nervous kind from stunned students and stunned adults, raised the crepe paper off the floor. Needless to say, these boys had concocted this display to shock all of us and they did. I can still see Susan and me backstage with our hands to our heads. As far as anyone in the audience would know at the time, this was part of our show. It definitely was not. However, it was certainly a prom memory none of this class will forget.

Prom gives students a chance to perform; it brings out the best in them (usually). They dress up, feel good about how they look, dance, eat, laugh, and leave with memories and hundreds of pictures. I was fortunate to be a part of 28 years of banquets, which later turned to proms. During those years, I observed the changes in styles, the differences in music, and the variety of hairdos. One thing that never changed was the feel of prom. It was something special back then and it still is today.

The writer, Carol Perkins, and Susan Shirley have a new radio show: Carol and Susan-Unscripted on 99.1 FM the Hoss every Wednesday night form 5pm-7pmCT and again on Sunday from 4pm-6pmCT)


This story was posted on 2013-05-05 07:50:51
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