Photo by Ella Ban

Prom: Go B16 or Go Home

May 31, 2016

For some, it is the quintessential high school event, the epitome of adolescence, the best night of a student’s entire high school career. For others, it is overhyped and overrated; an unusual tradition ruined by high expectations passed down from generation to generation. However, there is no denying that prom has a significant cultural relevance that extends far beyond the few hours it lasts, and the Class of 2016’s Prom at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is no exception.

   When the Academy of Sciences was announced as the venue for prom last year, there was a lot of backlash. Many students in the Class of 2016 were upset with the decision, and their anger was fueled by misinformation and vague details about the location. Senior Alex Mendoza channelled her inner-activist by starting a controversial petition to change the venue of prom, which gathered the attention of many prospective seniors. Although the petition did not last, students seemed to be pleasantly surprised by the venue, including Mendoza herself.

  “After touring the venue again in February, I had a different view of the Academy of Science. When we first visited, our event planner joked around about animal feces on the ground and such which I took seriously and got the entire wrong idea of the place.  I ended up loving the venue after I got more of a feel of what it was going to be like and definitely very happy and proud of how it turned out,” said Mendoza.

    The majority of the seniors enjoyed the unique venue; having the option to take a break from the tireless dancing and walk downstairs to watch sharks, stingrays, and fish swim around was an added bonus. Even those with thalassophobia, fear of aquatic life, like senior Karen Spencer, thought the aquarium addition of the venue made prom night complete.

    “My favorite part of the venue was probably the aquarium part of it, even though I have a fear of aquatic life. I wasn’t looking forward to that at all, but out of the whole thing, seeing all of that was my favorite part, also the albino alligator was super cool but kinda scary,” said Spencer.

    With a great venue, and an even greater night ahead, seniors were ready to get out on the dance floor and dance the night away. However, the music seemed to be far from great; senior Jessica Funke was among many who were disappointed with DJ Antiks, a local DJ out of San Francisco.

    “The DJ was absolutely awful. They didn’t play ‘One Dance’ and that just–how could they do that? How could they do such a thing? An absolute disgrace,” said Funke.

    But seniors did not let the bad DJ ruin their night. The tradition of prom is followed by another hazy tradition where students spend one of their last nights as class together in a nearby hotel. Many seniors consider that this aspect is what “prom night” is all about. Mendoza explains her plans for after prom.

   “After prom was wild to say the least. My friends and I rented the presidential suite at the Parc 55 hotel in Union Square and hung out there all night. We even stayed up all night and watched the sunrise looking over the city. Definitely one of the best weekends of my life,” said Mendoza.

   While many often describe prom as the best night of their lives, others find themselves disappointed by high expectations that are crushed beneath their 7-inch heels. Spencer describes her prom night.

  “Honestly I felt underwhelmed; I felt like I was expecting way more. Like you’re buying your dress and you’re getting ready and you’re just expecting so much. I just feel like people around me hyped it up so much more than it actually was,” said Spencer.   

   Funke also noted the high price point that comes with bringing a date to prom, and has some advice for those who are planning to attend next year.

   “Was it worth it spending that much money? No. I spent $1,400 on prom. My dress was $600. I paid for my date’s ticket. I paid for his bus [ticket]. My hotel room was $400, so yeah it was just a lot. Don’t bring a date. No matter how much fun you think they are, they really aren’t and your friends are way better than they could ever be. So yeah, save your time, save your money, and save your energy,” said Funke.

    But despite having a rocky start, Funke ended up having a great experience partying in the hotel afterwards, carrying on the tradition of seniors past with the Class of 2016’s mantra, “Doin’ B16 Things,” as inspiration for the night.

   “After prom was really fun, me and Amanda had a suite together, and we raged and I didn’t sleep. I stayed up all night. Prom overall was a great experience, it was so much fun. It definitely did live up to my expectations, I wish I did a few things differently, but we did B16 things, we really did,” said Funke.

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