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Communique from Samohi:: Prom Feels Pinch This Year, Will Be Held at Sony Studios

Your buds, your gal pals, even your teachers show up at Samohi day in and day out, sporting the usual Levis, t-shirt, and Gap sweater. So I’m guessing that, for most students, seeing their biology teacher strutting her stuff down a red carpet in Vera Wang would be something of a surprise…unless it’s May 14 and they happen to be attending Santa Monica High School’s Prom.

Yes, that’s right, Prom — when teenagers still not old enough to drink dress up in $300 dresses and tuxes for their last and final time to shine, even if it’s only for four hours. It may sound a bit frivolous, but, in a school with a senior class of upwards of 850 students, it’s nice to meet up with everybody outside of school and dance to “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

This year, however, owing to the massive size of the senior class and the school’s tight budget, there have been some alterations.

In the past, Prom has been held in the ballroom of an up-scale hotel — such as the Beverly Hills Hotel or the Biltmore. But this year, according to Senior Class President Natalie Moran, because the “size [of the senior class] was the biggest issue and closeness to the school was the second biggest issue,” the school’s Associated Student Body (ASB) opted to hold Prom at Sony Studios in an outdoor patio.

The senior class must set aside approximately $20,000 to fund graduation, and as last year’s class neglected to leave any money for this year, ASB couldn’t resist Sony Studio’s generous package deal that includes karaoke, palm readings, a DJ, food, and more.

Other locations considered by ASB were Universal Studios, the Convention Center, and one of the Disney Halls.

Some students, like senior Yassaman Nassiri, are unhappy with the change. Said Nassiri, “Palm Readings? What is this, a Halloween carnival?”

Other students, like senior Chloe Coscarelli, like the idea, in the belief that a more casual setting will permit a more relaxed mood. “I think it will be really cool to have all those fun things to do at Prom. Sometimes you can get bored of dancing, eating or having your pictures taken, but this way, you can always find something exciting to do. Also, having it outside gives us the chance to be ourselves more and to be more free; it might be a little stuffy or congested in a ballroom.”

Prom, which will run from 8 p.m. to midnight on the appointed night, has a red-carpet/celebrity theme. Appropriately it will be entitled “An Evening Under The Stars.”

Unlike previous years, there will be no assigned seating. When word of the change came, a rumor spread around campus that, this year, instead of tables and chairs, students would have to sit on long cafeteria benches. Moran said, “The rumor is not true. There will be round tables and chairs just like always.”

Even with Sony Studios’ package deal, some big costs remain, such as funds to pay for tickets for students who are in financial need and insurance. Samo must also provide teacher chaperones, in addition to Sony Studios’ security. White Studios will take photos of students and their friends, with prices ranging from $20-$110.

Samo has held a variety of fund-raisers, including a magazine drive that raised $200, a Six Flags trip that, according to Moran, “was not very successful,” Valentine gram sales, which raised $1,000, and two special events: Samohi Idol and the Samohi Slam Basketball Game.

Samohi Idol starred 10 Samo singers who competed for the title of “Samohi Idol,” a spoof of the popular television show. The Samohi Slam Basketball game brought faculty from John Adams, Lincoln and Samo together to play in a basketball game. During half-time, the cast of the reality T.V. show “Laguna Beach” signed autographs. Money raised by the two events has yet to be determined.

The school has scheduled a fashion show on April 7 during lunch that will feature 10 Samo girls and 10 Samo boys modeling clothes from Elite Tux and Anne Miller. In return, the two stores will give discounts to Samo students in the weeks leading up to Prom.ASB Treasurer Naomi Vasquez is optimistic about the event. “Even though there will be no chandelier this year, our class is a lot more together and supportive [than in the past] so it makes it all a lot more fun. I think the dynamic will be just right,” she said.

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