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  • Pre-picked prom date?

    Last year, I wrote an article on promposals — the fun, over-the-top gestures seniors employ to ask one another to prom. What I received in response was a delightful email from Catholic Herald reader Tom Moeller, a former parishioner of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg who now lives in Washington. He wrote:

    In light of your story on the “promposals” at Paul VI and Ireton, I thought you might find it interesting to learn about a different approach to prom proposals at another Catholic high school, Aquin High School, a small Catholic high school located in Freeport, Ill. Aquin was attended by my parents, siblings and nephews. My parents were in the first class (1930) to go all the way through the school, from freshmen to senior year, and it was their class that began the prom tradition that every class since has voted to continue. My dad was one of the orphans referred to in the information below.

    When hard times fell on Moeller’s grandmother, his father was taken in by St. Vincent's Orphanage in Freeport, Ill., which was run by the Diocese of Rockford and staffed by a Franciscan order of nuns. “My dad loved St. Vincent’s and credited it with giving him the spiritual and educational foundation for his future life,” said Moeller. “When the kids graduated from St. Vincent's, they entered Aquin High School across the street, a new diocesan-run school staffed by Dominican nuns.” Moeller’s father was the class valedictorian.

     He then passed along information on the junior/senior prom from the Aquin website

    Aquin has a unique tradition of drawing for their date that goes back to the 1920s when the school wanted to make sure the many orphans who attended the school would have the opportunity to go to the dance. Today, the students vote whether or not they want to continue the tradition of Prom Draw. Each year they unanimously vote to continue the tradition.

    As there needs to be enough boys to match with girls, students from the sophomore class may be included with permission of the students' parents. Although, there are times when a boy or a girl will have two dates if a balance cannot be established.

    Girls form groups prior to the prom draw to decide how they are going to dress for the prom draw. It is customary for girls to design a brown paper grocery bag to disguise themselves. It is fun and adds to the suspense. The girls gather in the gymnasium where parents and family members can watch the prom draw. It is customary for the girls to prepare a gift bag for the boy who will draw her name. The gift is presented when the boy asks her to prom.

    The young men draw their dates’ names in the library. Then they head to gymnasium where the girls are waiting. The girls, now undisguised, watch the guys perform skits before asking their date to officially go to prom with them. The boys also fill out dance cards for their dates — talk about a throwback!

    Here are some prom draw videos from last school year, as listed on the school website.

     The Catholic Herald newsroom thought this was a pretty cool idea. Any takers, high schools?


    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2021