Before the event, seeing the young men showered and shaved in their tuxes, with boutineers at the lapel and color coordinated pocket squares, and the young women so elegantly outfitted in gowns and coiffed hair, I was struck by the truths in Danah Boyd's recently published book, "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens." She explains that Internet social networking has changed some things about being a teen, but the developmental work of being a teen has not. Teens have the same "fundamental desire for social connection." They "continue to occupy an awkward position between childhood and adulthood, dependence and independence…struggling to carve out an identity that is not defined solely by family tie."
The evening made me nostalgic about my own prom, which I remember whenever I fly into Chicago O'Hare. My prom was held at the airport Hyatt, hardly remarkable now, but back in the 70s an architectural wonder with its four towers of reflective glass and 14-floor high lobby atrium with ivy hanging over all those balconies. I remember feeling so grown up and elegant entering that building for the first time!
A lot of preparation went into making the Paly prom a success: researching and booking a great venue, selling hundreds of tickets, organizing and loading 16 buses, hiring a caterer and DJ, and communicating directly with students and by email with parents concerning expectations of acceptable behavior. Attendees accepted the responsibility, and it was an enjoyable evening for all. I hope all the administrators and teachers who went beyond the call of duty to plan and chaperone the event took a well-deserved nap this afternoon!