Prom 2016 vs. 2017


Joe Sigler

Sr. Spencer Carl walked into prom with his date and best friends and was amazed by the beauty of Frederik Meijer Gardens. ‘It already looks nicer than last year,’ he thought to himself. Prom: a time of the year that every high school junior and senior looks forward to, and West Ottawa is no exception. Prom is the best opportunity for upperclassmen to have fun with their friends one last time before summer vacation. Each WO prom is put together through hundreds of hours of hard work by students, teachers, and administrators to ensure that everyone has a great time. But, not every prom can be “the greatest of all time.”

  The prom is first and foremost a dance. Patrons do not rent tuxedos and buy beautiful ball gowns to sit on a bench; they go to dance. This year’s dance floor was electric. There was a nice view of the gardens behind the DJ setup. The dance floor was roomy enough for everyone to dance, but not too big as to make it open and awkward. The dance floor had dark enough lighting to make dancing private and fun, but not too dark as to where one could not see his or her friends. Dancing was an overall enjoyable experience at the 2017 prom.

  On the other hand,  the 2016 prom did not have quite as nice of a dancing experience. The 2016 venue featured two floors, a balcony, and big stairs straight out of Cinderella. The stairs and two-floor scheme created a fun, artsy dynamic, but the balcony did not do the same. The balcony created a perfect vantage point for every chaperone and administrator to stand over and watch all the high school dancers. “It was pretty strange knowing that every administrator there was watching you dance. I never felt like I could let loose and have fun,” Sr. Justin Anair said. This fishbowl effect really put a damper on the mood, and the dancing never really got to where it was in 2017. In addition to the balcony fiasco, the music left a lot to be desired. The administration watch tower coupled with a strange playlist left patrons without a fun dancing experience.

  Nobody can dance for the entire prom, and some people just are not dancers. So where does one go when he or she is not tearing up the dance floor? In 2017, WO prom-goers had a multitude of fun options. Many patrons started by going to the butterfly room. Students could take pictures in the beautiful scenery among thousands of butterflies. They could also utilize the gorgeous outdoor flower garden to either take pictures in a nifty spot, or just have a calm, relaxing walk with some friends. There were also a plethora of places to walk around. These included other garden rooms, open spaces, and cool areas filled with charming artwork and sculptures. When a prom-goer wanted to have a private conversation, these places were perfect spots. “When I needed a break from dancing, it was nice to have places to sit and be able to talk to my friends,” Jr. Tucker Fritz said. In 2016, there were not a lot of places to go. Downstairs there was the dance floor, a few small tables, and not much else. One could venture upstairs, only to find a small room filled with casino games and not much space for a private conversation. The venue had almost no flow to the possible areas for patrons to visit, and it was difficult to move from one activity to the next.   

  A less than desirable venue setup could be improved by adding fun, vibrant decorations. But in 2016, that did not exactly happen. Lots of balloons and lights were not enough to  capture the eye of prom-goers. In 2017, the venue itself was extremely well set up. Cool pieces of art littered Frederik Meijer Gardens, and patrons enjoyed the eye candy. “This prom was by far the prettiest of the three that I have been to. Being able to take a break and walk outside and look at all of the statues and pieces of art made it seem like something out of a movie,” Sr. Lauren Otteman said. The organizers of prom 2017 did a fantastic job of finding the most beautiful venue imaginable. It was much better than the oversized banquet hall that prom 2016 was held in.

  What is prom in this day and age if not a perfect opportunity to take dozens of pictures while dressed to the nines? Prom 2017 gave copious opportunities and backdrops to take pictures. The butterfly room, other nature rooms, the outdoor flower garden, and every sculpture and piece of art to name a few. In 2016, dim lighting loomed as a major impediment to taking artsy pictures to post to Instagram. “The lighting was terrible for taking pictures. I couldn’t take selfies let alone look across the table and see who I was sitting with,” Sr. Lexi Manning said. But the bigger problem was that there was nowhere to take pictures. A dearth of cool spots killed many people’s favorite pastime in 2016.

  Hundreds of people enjoyed the proms of 2016 and 2017, but the organizers of WO prom 2017 went above and beyond to ensure that it was the best prom in years. The music and dance scene that defines prom exceeded all expectations. The music was fantastic. The activities and places to venture off the dance floor were elegant and plentiful. Finally, the drop dead gorgeous venue allowed a ton of great pictures to be taken. Although many patrons enjoyed the 2016 prom, this year’s prom was fantastic all the way around, and the organizers should be proud that they put on such a great event.