Prom through the ages: Alums remember Prom night

By JoliePeal 

Dress? Check. Shoes? Check. Dinner? Check. Date? Meh. Prom? Double check! On April 27, the Scoular Ballroom downtown was filled with Old Hollywood glamour and dazzling Marian girls as they danced the night away at Prom. Along with dancing, there was a photo booth supplied with an eccentric prop table. “The photo booth was really cool,” Eleanor Ricketts ’19 said. 

Juniors plan Prom every year at Marian, but it didn’t begin that way. “The four senior class officers were the organizers, and their parents were the chaperones. I was senior class president, and my six-months pregnant mom and my dad shared the dance floor with me and my boyfriend,” Ms. Kathy Tocco ’61 said. 

Even though seniors were the planners for Tocco, both the junior and senior class were still invited to attend Prom. “Sister Marcella (later Sr. Marian) was the principal. She embodied all of Marian’s charisms (core values) and wanted to be sure every girl in my class of 74 [girls] was included, so she instructed me to tell all that if they could not afford the ticket it would ‘be covered.’ She also asked if my boyfriend, who went to Prep, could invite a group of his friends to my house, and I was to invite any girls who didn’t have dates, so they could ‘get to know each other.’ Every girl who wanted to go to Prom did,” Tocco said. 

Eventually, juniors did take over the Prom planning. “The junior class elected the Prom committee, and they were joined by the junior class officers to plan the Prom,” Ms. Connie Cavel ’68 said. 

Along with Prom, they planned a Prom announcement event, instead of the fun Prom announcement video made now. “At that event, everyone learned the theme, the colors, the venue, the date and the names of the princesses. So, the date was always a surprise, and sometimes Prom was a winter Prom, and sometimes it was a spring Prom,” Cavel said. 

While Post Prom is a more recent Prom invention, a pre-Prom check-up was not unheard of. “There was never a Post Prom. I am not sure when that came into being. However, there was something before Prom, hosted by the Servants of Mary. It was held at school in the cafeteria. It was a ‘tea’ of sorts,” Cavel said. 

The Servants of Mary used this opportunity for more than just pre-Prom fun. “The purpose of this party was two fold: so the Servants of Mary faculty could meet our dates and so the sisters could be assured that all of us adhered to the very clearly defined modesty guidelines for our prom gowns,” Tocco said. “All were long, no strapless, no cleavage showing at all, and only two fingers beneath the base of the neck in back.” Marian Prom dress rule guidelines now are not as strict as they were in the beginning. 

Another difference in Prom now is the venue. Prom has had many homes throughout the years. “I was the faculty member in charge one year and liked the Prom at Creighton… and chaperoning at the Botanical Garden was lovely,” Mrs. Pat Travis ’64 said. Prom has been held at many ballrooms and hotels, but the most unique ballroom was in an amusement park. 

“My junior Prom was held at The Peony Park ballroom. Peony Park was a mini amusement park with a swimming area and several small rides. It also had the ballroom. It was located in the area of 78th and Cass, where a HyVee and a Big Red Keno are now located,” Cavel said. 

 Right side:  A Queen’s Priorities • Ms. Connie Cavel ’68 was on the 1968 Prom Court when girls were still escorted by their dates. The Prom Court of 2019 walked on the balcony by themselves, and the newly crowned queen Sarah Anderson ’19 posed with her parents after.
Photo courtesy of the 1968 Marian yearbook. Left side: 
Conga Line Classic • In 1960, Marian prom goers danced a waltz with their dates along with other classic moves like the conga line Eleanor Ricketts ’19 and Olivia Ramaekers ’19 were a part of. While the conga line lasts through the ages, Marian students now did a lot less waltzing and a lot more jumping. Photo courtesy of the 1960 Marian yearbook. 

While an amusement park is a fun Prom, Cavel’s senior Prom featured the popular band Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. “The band, which the juniors had booked almost a year before, had two songs on the pop charts! One of those songs was a number 1 hit by the time Prom rolled around! As one of the Prom princesses, I got to meet Gary Puckett. Needless to say, that Prom was unforgettable,” Cavel said. 

Overall, the music of Prom is always a fan favorite. From Gary Puckett to Ariana Grande, Prom goers throughout the ages have jammed out to the top tunes of their time. “My favorite song was ‘Everytime we touch.’ It’s always a fun song to dance with my friends to,” Ricketts said. 

Post Prom eventually came into existence. “As a faculty member, I know the Post Prom was often at the Maplewood bowling alley,” Travis said. In 2009, it was held at Thunder Alley. In 2010, Post Prom was held at Coco Keys. The past few years Post Prom was held at The V Bowling Alley, but this year it was held free for students at Marian. “I really liked the smoothie machines. They were my favorite part of Post Prom,” Ricketts said. Along with smoothie machines, Post Prom was amped up with prizes, inflatables, games and a hypnotist. 

The junior prom committee and the moms who planned post prom did not hold back on hosting a great night for Marian students. The decorations and activities at Prom and Post Prom encouraged a fun and safe night for juniors and seniors. 

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