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The kids are all right

South Boston News
Girls’ fashions ranged from Disney princess-style gowns to slinky sequined numbers worthy of Hollywood. (David Conner II photos) / April 28, 2013

The old fogies say “prom.”

But the zeitgeist says “performance art.”

If “prom” conjures up crinoline skirts, crepe-paper streamers and a vacuumed-out Oldsmobile, you haven’t been recently to the Halifax County High School prom, where hundreds gather to cheer students as they PROM-enade into the school.

They disembark from a pontoon boat, an RV replete with strobe light and fog machine, a dark-windowed BMW, a red-orange General Lee, late-model Lexuses, vintage convertibles and rented limousines. Mode of transportation is an extension of one’s ensemble. Please, no Honda Civics.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, people with no real connection to the school log onto this newspaper’s website to gawk and tut-tut: the babies in arms, the tractors, the dressed-up dogs (last year) …. The snark is deafening. Walk of Shame, someone in mock high dudgeon quips when they found out I was going to attend this past Saturday night.


But even 30 years ago, in my own day, the prom was starting to feel like a stodgy, lackluster ritual, shrouded in the gauzy haze of anachronism, “Happy Days” or “Grease.” Something your father, in a flat-top, had been to.

Enter the very first denizens of Generation Z.

They have taken the prom and made it their own: camouflage ball gowns (underneath one, Timberlands); a flatbed festooned in rope lights; toddlers in tuxedoes; a student who dances for a cheering crowd and releases red and white helium balloons before helping his date out of a vintage Chevrolet.

When bubble-dot SOLs drum the soul out of learning and when creativity comes second to rote memorization, the Halifax County prom proves our teenagers have spirit, flair and verve.

The prom has their stamp, this generation’s sense of the ever-ironic, the always absurd. They have never known a world without the Internet, cell phones and texting. Demographers say they are the last Americans to be majority white.

This new and crazy prom isn’t a heresy against convention — it’s a paean to the present.

Welcome, fellow geezers, to 2013.


Stories abound about the sheer expense of Proms These Days: a $500 dress, plus manicures, pedicures, fake tans and hair extensions.

That’d be hard for me to justify — and even harder to pay for — but the touches that make the Halifax County Prom uniquely the Halifax County Prom don’t have so much a price tag as an investment — an investment by the young people who think up this mad stuff, and by the supportive adults who help them carry it out: The race car with the “pit crew” to drive it away after the blithe couple steps out, or the fire truck or the tractor. Chauffeuring moms and dads enjoying the evening as much as the teenagers.

And the babies. What to say about the babies at the prom?

Call it tacky, call it a portent to civilization’s end. But I ask: If you’re a child being raised by very, very young parents, aren’t you better off with the kind who trot you out about (even if it is in an outfit matching mom’s)?

Beyond dresses and decorum: At 9 p.m., all the kids looked sober.

As the Classes of 2013 and 2014 might say: YOLO (you only live once).

Ah, youth! Wasted on the young!

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It a shame that parents have to re-live child hood through there kids. Parents should not want to crowd the scene at the prom. I did not go to my kids prom several years ago. Kids come by the house take pictures then go out on their own. I stress on their own!


It's crazy that all those parents/grandparents/cousins/and whatnots stand outside the school every year and add to this ridiculous spectacle! This has not always happened. What in the world happened to Halifax County to make prom like the Grammys? Some of these parents should be ashamed for the type of dresses that they let their daughters wear at their age. Yes I know they are young ladies and growing up but remember they are not GROWN up yet and still should act like young ladies. I saw so much hanging out of dresses it was pathetic. And lets mention these ones with babies, why do we let this continue? Why do they allow students to bring their children? I really think the whole prom thing here has gotten way out of hand and/or control. What would be so wrong with setting up some rules and getting the prom back to what it's supposed to be, a celebration for SENIOR year not a spectacle for everyone in the county.


To shameful 13, get over yourself. These kids have created their own traditions. I graduated from HCHS many years ago, and I remember prom being so mediocre that we all stayed about 15 minutes and left. I applaud this big production. My daughter is not an HCHS student, but attended it as a date. I can tell you that the evening was an exciting time and it provided the kids a moment in time that they may never relive. Lighten up!


To allpolitical2 it's a shame you couldn't find the time to go out and watch your kids make their grand entrance. Did you even make time to go to the senior walk? I did for both of my children and I have no regrets. To shameful13 I agree with A Proud Mom, get over yourself! You should be ashamed of judging other parents. It’s none of your business what another parent allows their child to wear to the prom. You didn’t foot the bill so why does it concern you? If you thought it was so pathetic why did you take the time to look through the photos? As for me, my girl was beautiful and her date handsome and I was so proud when they stepped out of that hot car and made their grand entrance, movie stars on the red carpet cameras flashing and all. It was awesome! You guys should’ve been there! I’m sure glad I was.


My "vacuumed-out Oldsmobile" was a 1974 Hurst/Olds Indianapolis 500 Pace Car replica which I still own after all these years, so the "vacuumed-out Olds" wasn't a totally uncool way to arrive at the prom. Doesn't quite live up to arriving seated on folding lawn chairs in the bucket of a front-end loader, I guess.

I'll give the kids props for being creative, but do they HAVE to live up to that "Halifax Hillbillies" reputation? They're the laughingstock of kids and parents in surrounding areas. When a kid from Bartlett Yancey HS cracks on the Halifax kids and calls their prom a Honey Boo Boo trashspectacle, it embarrasses even me. With the Internet and all its instant communication capability, people in other areas DO see it- along with potential employers, college recruiters etc.

But, the kids leave here for college and seems especially at VT they're proud of that "Halifax Hillbilly" moniker. If they're cool with it, who am I to judge?


I love it! You only live once so why not? These are stories these kids will be telling their own kids years from now. I love the creativity. Pontoon boat? Vintage fire truck? Awesome!


What a great tradition! The prom was never like this when I went. It's fun seeing the creativity as the prom goers arrive, and the kids are having fun. That is what it's all about....having fun.


My comments are for allpolitical2 and shameful13. It is sad to say that when your kids look back on their Proms they will remember that their friends parents were there but you were not. And the Prom is not only for Seniors because it is the Junior/Senior Prom and has been for over 30 years I know. My son went in 2011 when he was a sophomore with a senior. They were not dating and was only friends and still are today. He went this year as a Senior and I was there both times and this year I stayed for the Senior walk. The creativity of these kids is great and the Prom is a BIG DEAL not a spectacle. They are making memories of their teenage years and as his Mom I want to be part of those memories. I have 1 more son to go. He will graduate in 2018 and if I am alive you can bet I Will be there for the Prom no matter how many times he attends.

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