Tuesday, February 24, 2009

young hearts on fire...

Perfect Prom
When you attend a JS Prom, what comes in your mind? I’m serious. I’d really like to know.
Okay, maybe everyone here tonight including myself have the same thoughts about JS Prom—disco gid ni ya sigurado indi bala? But let me give you three reasons why you’re here tonight…or some sort of a guess, I should say…
One: You’re here because you want to show your classmates that you can strut your stuff, move your body gracefully and express yourself through dancing. In other words, you want to dance even if you’re not the best dancer.
Two: you’re here because you believe that your best friends or your secret crush might find you attractive tonight. Bottom line, you’re hoping to impress them.
Or three: you’re definitely here because you want get over your insecurities and prove to everyone else that you’re confident enough to be yourself. Let’s cut the chase, you want people to accept the fact that soon you’re going to be a lady or a gentleman.
JS Prom is a turning point in your high school life. It is one of the most precious moments that you’ve been waiting for since you were in first year, isn’t it? This is the perfect time for you to come out of your protected shell and be given a chance to socialize with your fellow schoolmates, to establish rapport, camaraderie with your fellow juniors or seniors, to take responsibility of your actions, to develop yourself further and become someone that the whole world is waiting for.
But before we take deeper reflection and put everything into better perspective, let me tell about the cultural significance of JS Prom around the world. In the United States and Canada, a prom, short for promenade, is a semi-formal dance held at the end of an academic year. Though smaller schools in the US or Canada hold “Proms” open for all students, the bigger schools have two exclusive events the “Junior Prom” and “Senior Prom”. And when these two events were combined, the Junior Class take the responsibility of organizing since they will be left behind when the Senior class will graduate.
The term “Prom” was derived from the late nineteenth century practice of a promenade ball. The end of year tradition stemmed from the graduation ball tradition. Common prom activities include dining, dancing, the crowning of a prom King and Queen, and socializing. Boys usually dress in black tie (a dinner jacket and bow tie), though any sort of formal wear can be worn. Traditionally, girls give boys matching boutonnières to be worn on their tuxedos or waistcoats. Girls traditionally wear formal gowns or dresses adorned with a corsage given to them by their dates.
Other European countries especially in United Kingdom, Proms is also known as Leaver’s Dinner or Dinner-dance. In Argetina and Chile it is called "fiestas de graduación” while "Fiesta de Promocion” is the term used in Peru held in prominent hotels and convention centers. In Austria is it known as “Maturaball” (derived from the word “mature”).
Bailes de formatura or formal dance is the term referred to proms in Colombia and Brazil. In Germany, it is popularly known as Abi party or Abi ball derived from Abifeier or graduation certificate. In India, it is referred to as “farewell gathering”. In Italy, it is much known as Mak 100 because the event takes place 100 days before the graduation or Šimtadienis in Lithuana.
In Sweden, it is called as Studentbalen or Student Ball and in Turkey is connected with Graduation ball.
In the Philippines, it is popularly known as JS prom, a combined special event among Juniors class and Seniors class usually held in connection with Valentine’s month or February. Traditionally, JS prom is a formal ceremony as turning over of responsibility from the outgoing Seniors to the Juniors.
And what are these responsibilities? Literally, it include the responsibility of the juniors to take care of the student body, to become good role models of the younger students and set a strong moral, academic and spiritual leadership that would fully develop their self-confidence. Likewise, the Juniors will also accept the challenge from the Seniors of giving honor and great achievements to their alma mater or school that became not only the center of wisdom and learning but as an institution that has close resemblance to their home. Thus, their ever-devoted and persevering teachers that stood out as the molders of their minds should be given outmost respect, a role that resembles their parents at home.
Likewise, JS Prom is an important event for young people because it is aimed to boost not only their self-confidence but develop social grace or the proper way to act on formal occasions in the society. Furthermore, this kind of social event introduce them to society as responsible, ethical and self-motivated individuals ready to accept their relevant social status. So, it feels like a debut or another step in the social life for students in any academic institution wherein they were given a chance to mingle, establish rapport, learn the value of camaraderie and socialize with their fellow youth on their own. Thus, it is appropriate to say that JS Prom is indeed a coming-of-age event for young people to discover the essence of sense and sensibility.
On the lighter side of pop culture, Proms influenced the themes of various chick flicks or teen movies visually stating why it is important for teenagers to attend this kind of event before graduating in high school. Fashion continuously revives the elegance of formal attires such as gowns for girls or tuxedos among boys.
Unquestionably, JS prom is an event for the young hearts, a red letter day for young people who wanted to understand how it feels to share love and be loved. Every student looks forward to wait for the right time and attend their own JS Prom in high school. If you miss JS Prom, then you missed half of your high school life. For the boys, they say “Patience is a virtue”. Indeed it is true; JS prom is the perfect time for boys to appropriately ask or invite a girl for a dance. And every girl should be nice and accommodating since it is a proper social occasion. Likewise, boys should wait for their turn to dance with the girl they like. Now, if each one of you tonight can exemplify the proper ethics of socialization then that makes you the perfect gentleman and ladies of the occasion.
You see, doing a slow dance with the one you like or fond of during JS prom is not only an initial sign of expressing your emotion or feelings but a gesture of respect and a promise of lasting friendship. “Siyempre indi tanan nga ginainvite mo masaot sa tunga mangin potential girlfriend mo indi bala gentlemen?” Some of them might be your best friend or even your favorite teacher right? I’d like to point out that it’s all about a sense of respect and friendship. “Of course, lovely ladies dapat mangin open-minded kamo to accept these gentlemen for a dance since it is their social privilege to express how much they admire and respect you”.
On the other hand, I know that some of you who haven’t got over with their feeling of shyness or were thinking less about themselves would remain cold and hesitant to mingle or have fun tonight. Be realistic: JS prom is a once in a lifetime chance in high school to freely express yourself and be happy through socialization. Juniors, don’t even forget that you have the responsibility to become responsible Seniors next year who will accept the challenge of becoming effective role models and leaders to the lower years. Seniors, be strong and confident to make the last days of high school worth remembering. Remember that success cannot be measured by medals or wealth alone, significant success comes from your choice to use your heart in sowing seeds of hope to other people, touching their lives and making a difference in the society. Never ever forget your teachers who gave their whole heart in molding you to become the catalysts of change and goodwill. And definitely, if you let this chance slip away then you’ll gonna have a lot of hang-ups after high school. Believe me, I learned from the best teacher—they call it “experience”. But of course when the music starts to play tonight, every one of you should know your limitations especially with the concept of having fun right? But seriously, try to be happy and make this night the perfect JS Prom for yourself.
Now, this is a personal advice to all the Juniors and Seniors:
We all want to have a perfect JS Prom right? Who would not wish for it? And if ever I would given a chance to become 16 again I would want it that way—a JS Prom that perfectly fit my expectations. But you know, I’ve come to realize something better tonight: There’s no such thing as perfect in life. Perfection is only a state of mind, a sort of “wishful thinking” and we can’t live forever in superficial thoughts. In my point of view, we were meant to truly enjoy life if we teach our hearts to accept reality and learn that people around us tonight, our schoolmates, classmates, best friends, crushes, parents, teachers and everyone else that filled our inner universe, the whole concept of the high school journey were there to help us realize that “happy memories” are far more lasting and important than anything else in this world. And if ever we look back a few years from now, we will have no regrets to make.
So cheer up, you don’t need to become somebody else to impress someone tonight. Be yourself, you‘re far more beautiful or handsome than you could ever think of. Just keep that radiant smile in your face because you’ve always been special deep down inside. Never mind if you can’t dance better than your cheerleader classmate. Just dance, leave your hesitations behind and grab someone straight to the dance floor. I’m sure the operator will play your favorite song tonight. You wouldn’t want to miss the chance to dance with someone that can magically hang stars in your infinite sky or make your heart skip a bit for a while. After all, Valentines month isn’t over yet, right?
This is now or never ladies and gentlemen. Tonight, take the chance to make happy memories that would last a lifetime. Thank you, and good luck!