In his novel, ‘The Great Gatsby,’ F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, “I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” So it makes sense that Grinnell High School’s prom, one of the biggest parties of the year, was decorated with a Great Gatsby theme.
The dance was held in one of the Grinnell High School gyms and was decorated with black, white and gold decor. As in previous years, the students were invited to a formal pre-prom dinner in JRC 101 and then they were off to their party to enjoy the night.
Grinnell prom was the first prom Deja Jackson, a senior at Grinnell High School and a student in a Spanish class at the College, has attended. After moving to Grinnell after her freshman year, Jackson found that she was behind on her prom planning.
“People here asked people their freshman and sophomore years ‘Will you go to prom with me?’’” Jackson said. “I was like, ‘I’ll go with whoever’s left.’”
Though most people spend a lot of time searching for the perfect gown for prom night, Jackson found her dress at the mall on a trip to get new prescription for her glasses. Jackson and her friends went to a restaurant in Des Moines for their pre-prom dinner. The party then continued to the “Promanade.” At Grinnell High School, students attending prom walk across the stage as their names and a few facts are read aloud. “They have you walk across the stage so your parents and the younger kids can see you,” Jackson said. “They read your name, your date’s name, what your future plans are and then a small fact or a quote.”
Just as Fitzgerald intended, the party continued past the first celebration. To dissuade students from engaging in illicit activities, the school hosts a prom after-party in which prizes were given to students who stuck around until the party ended at 4 a.m.
“They save the best prizes for the end and you have to be there to collect the prize,” Jackson said. “But if you stay until the end, pretty much everyone gets a prize … I got a $50 massage coupon.” Jackson said.
Though Grinnell’s prom ended very differently for Jackson and her classmates than “The Great Gatsby” did for Fitzgerald’s characters, it was still a memorable night.