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Prom: Is it really worth dying for?

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 1
I woke up on a crisp autumn morning, thinking it would be just like any other day. I walked downstairs to find my mother mesmerized by the news. My brother, a junior at the time, ambled down to the kitchen shortly after I did.

“Do you know Jacob Ellman* and Aaron Kaplan*?” my mother demanded of my weary brother, tired from the previous night’s festivities. Yes, my brother had heard of both students. They were seniors. “They died last night.”

Those four words are haunting. I never knew Jacob or Aaron, but who would think that homecoming celebrations would result in the death of two students. Three of their friends were injured as well, including Jacob’s twin. The boys were at a party where they drank, smoked marijuana, and thought it would be fun to drive really fast down the street…until they hit the tree.

One would think that these shocking deaths would have shaken my town to its core. Yet three other students died within the two years following Jacob and Aaron’s deaths. All of these incidents were related to drinking and acting irresponsibly. It is innocent celebrations that schools sponsor, including homecoming and prom, that give bored, irrational high school students to engage in risky behaviors. Despite these horrifying deaths, alcohol and drug abuse are rampant in my community, particularly on the night of homecoming and prom. It makes you wonder…is prom really worth dying for?

Some girls dream of going to prom. “I’d die to go to prom this year!” they exaggerate. Yet they forget that students have died on the night of a school dance. “I’d do anything!” But is it worth it? The girls who aren’t asked to the dance are left with wounded self-esteem and a low self-image; they starve themselves or binge in an effort to be skinny. Those who are asked will do anything to be cool, even if it means drinking and driving, doing drugs, or engaging in sexual behavior that they are not comfortable with. Even students who don’t drink and drive can be hit by a car due to a student driver who didn’t make wise decisions. Even the drama caused by planning the night breaks apart friendships; it seems overdramatic that this would happen, but it really does.

I’m not saying that everyone’s prom experience is this negative. But a night that consists of an overpriced meal, an outrageously expensive dress that a girl only wears for one night, and a couple hours of dancing does not seem like a positive tradition. And surely the potential costs—date rape, alcohol poisoning, getting in an accident for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, getting arrested—outweigh the benefits: a few hours of overpriced fun, and hundreds of pictures to post on Facebook.

Is prom a positive tradition? Sure, it’s a tradition, but is it really worth it? Would I die to go to prom? Honestly, I don’t think a night like prom is worth dying for.

*Note: Names have been changed
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Comment by sunshine62

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 4
Very inspiring and touching, great job! :)
Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 4:00:11 AM
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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
Hi, I'm the PR Coordinator for Stage of Life. I'm leaving you this comment to let you know that your essay for our Teens and Media writing contest was one of the finalists. Congratulations!

Here's the link to the contest summary page. We'll be formally announcing the winner soon.

Two things...
1) I will be in touch with you via email (the one you used to register for to see if you'd like to be named in our national press release going out via PR Newswire.
2) Feel free to share this news with your friends and family. To be named an essay finalists in our national writing competition is a big deal. Our previous winners have been talked about on and other media outlets.

Congrats again. We look forward to seeing more of your essays/writing on Thanks for helping us in our mission of creating the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.
Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011 2:51:34 AM
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