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Students pair up for prom by drawing names. No romance? Maybe, but no drama, either.

You could hardly go anywhere in Atlanta this weekend without running into glamorous teenagers. Prom season is underway. And what used to be a teenage dance has escalated into a mega industry with $1,200 gowns, rented limos, pre-prom photo shoots and expensive Buckhead dinners.

One trend I hope fades is the promposal where kids go to elaborate lengths to ask someone to the big night. Suitors fill lockers with flowers, spell out the question on the football field or enlist their dog to deliver a gilded invitation.

While the invitee's answer is important, even more critical is whether the buffed and polished promposal strikes Instagram and Snapchat gold.

Why don't I like these public promposals? Because of the hapless teens whose choreographed proposals meet with rejection while a half-dozen iPhones record the disappointment. (You can find promposal fails on YouTube.)

I like this idea a whole lot better: Randomly selected prom dates.

I saw a news segment about a small Catholic high school in Illinois where students draw names out of a hat for prom. The practice at Aquin High School in Freeport, Illinois, dates back to 1926, and students consistently vote to continue the tradition.

According to WREX:

This is Aquin's 91st prom draw. Here's how it works: the boys drew the names of girls at random in the library while the girls waited for them in the gym. Then the boys came out and performed a skit before they revealed who their date is. It's a tradition, the school says, is about bonding with classmates.

"I think most people are in disbelief and a lot of people say they would hate it," Junior Class Adviser Michelle Gallagher said. "But I think after they kind of hear the rest of the story and hear what goes into it I think a lot of people are actually intrigued by it. It's less of a date and more like something fun to do with your classmates."

Here is the WREX news segment: – Rockford’s News Leader


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.