The Prom Proposal

“Jacob Roberts, you have drawn Molly Suiter as your prom date.”

The auditorium erupted with shouts of encouragement. The boy and girl arose from their seats, met each other in the aisle, took each other’s hand, and made their way to the podium. Nodding to the principal, they made their way to the large blackboard, with all of the Juniors' and Seniors' names written on it, took an eraser, and erased their names from the board.

Going back to their seats, Molly looked over at Jacob and blushed. He was the senior class president and the quarterback for the football team. She had never been on a date, was quite shy, and wasn’t very attractive. Sitting down with her girlfriends, she couldn’t help but think about what had happened.

All of this was happening because of the new principal. He had been hired because of his concern for the students, all of the students. One of the first things he had done was call the faculty together.

“I want to try something. I want to make the prom something special. Something they will remember the rest of their lives,” he announced.

“What do you have in mind?”

“I want everybody in the junior and senior class to go. In fact, I want to make it mandatory. There are kids, all over the country, who have never gone or have even been asked to go to one. I want to change that,” he answered.

“Wow! When you said you wanted to make a change I wasn’t expecting this!” replied a faculty member.

“I like the idea. But how do we pull it off?” asked another.

“We will have to run it by the Student Council and the School Board members for approval,” he replied, “I ask that you keep it under your hat until we get the approval.”

At the next Board Meeting, it was introduced.

“It sounds like a great idea,” said the Board President, “I wish this had been available when I was in school. I never got to go to the prom and I always wanted to go.”

“I like it. I didn’t get to go to one either,” said another member.

The Board immediately voted and it was approved immediately.

The following week the principal called the Student Council to his office.

“The School Board and I have a proposition for you. We want to make the prom mandatory for juniors and seniors,” announced the principal.

“Mandatory, what about the underclassmen?” asked the sophomore representative.

“The prom would be for juniors and seniors only. We want to make it something special. Something to be looked forward to. I know the underclassmen will be disappointed, but their day will come.”

“How do you propose doing it?” asked the senior representative.

“I have thought long and hard about this. There is only one fair way to do it,” he answered.

“What is it?”

“We assign everybody a number, keep the boys' numbers separate from the girls, put them in baskets, and then draw numbers. It will be the luck of the draw who your date will be. The one stipulation is that you must arrive with your date, dance at least one dance with each other, and leave with your date,” replied the principal.

“Who ever heard of such a thing?”

“Do you think it will work?”

“I don’t know if they will go for it or not?”

“Okay, okay, it is one night out of the year. Granted, it’s your prom. But how many of you know someone who has never been and will probably never have the opportunity to go. The ones that feel rejected and not wanted. Think about them,” the principal interjected.

“Well, it’s not like we’re being asked to break up with our boyfriends and girlfriends,” answered one.

“All we can do is put it out there and see what happens,” added another.

The next day notices were put on all of the bulletin boards. The news went through the student body like a bolt of lightning. The underclassmen were upset and grumbled about it, and were reminded by the upperclassmen to get over it. The general consensus was that the upperclassmen didn’t want them there anyway. The more the kids talked the more they liked the idea. There were some skeptical while others thought it was fair for everybody. A vote was held and the proposal passed with flying colors.

Word got out to their community and the response was overwhelming. Countless mothers wept with joy over the realization that their children would get to go. The local flower shops offered large discounts because of the volume of business this would produce. The dress shops promised a variety of formals at discount prices, and the tuxedo rental stores bulked up their inventories.

The Parent Teacher Association got into the act also. They devised all kinds of fundraisers in order to help the ones who were less fortunate.

After the names had been drawn an unexpected thing happened. The couples began finding things out about each other. Instead of being total strangers new friendships formed.

The big night finally arrived. As each couple entered they were welcomed by the faculty and their picture was taken. Two copies were for the couple and one for a newly formed prom archive.

The place was packed with over four hundred students; laughing, dancing, and having a good time.

“I don’t know how you pulled it off,” a faculty member stated while watching the festivities.

“To be honest with you, I don’t either,” answered the principal.

“It’s wonderful,” offered another, “I have heard from two high schools asking how we did this. I told them it was because of you.”

“Don’t give me too much credit. The night’s not over yet,” he replied.

It was a huge success. He saw smiles on the faces of students that he had never seen before, ones that would probably never have been asked, or who were too self-conscious to even consider going. It made him feel like something good had been accomplished.

What started as a proposal became a yearly ritual at the high school. All because of a man who wanted to do something special for his kids!

June 24, 2021