(For all you Generation X alumni, we offer the Ted Turner "colorized version", of this photograph.
Themes | Decorating | Highlights | Queens and Kings

Oh, the Prom.... a time to wash and wax Dad's car, to carry a sequin purse and wear a bouffant hair-do, a time to really, really break curfew, and a time for your younger brothers and sisters to wish they were as grown up as you were.

Ilion students are well versed in the tradition of holding annual proms. As far back as 1925, the big gala was called "The Junior Prom". The responsibility for planning and organizing the event has alternated between the Junior and Senior Classes. In the 1930s, the dance was a "Junior-Senior Prom". From the early 50s to the early 60s, the event was a Senior Class function. Since the mid-60s, the Junior Class has held the job of creating this eagerly anticipated event.

Much effort was required of these classmates to produce the grand and elegant affair. Funds were raised through the annual Junior Class magazine sale. Much discussion went into the selection of a theme. The boys' gymnasium had to be decorated to create the appropriate illlusion. Streamer ceilings took hours and hours to prepare. Freshmen were thrilled to be selected as servers for the prom. A grand entranceway needed to be created to properly present the formerly attired couples.

The era of selecting popular song titles, as themes for the prom, began in the late 60s and early 70s. The Class of '72 left an enduring mark by being the first class to select a rock 'n roll band to play at the prom. Times were a changin' - it was "The Age of Aquarius".

The highlight of the prom was the selection of the Queen of the Prom. This tradition is over fifty years old. The 1945 Class history stated "...the custom of choosing a queen was revived." Recent decades, being an era of equal rights, led to the coronation of both a Prom Queen and Prom King.

The Class of 1988 broke a bit with tradition and held the prom in the cafeteria. They also introduced a garter ceremony, as the boys removed their souvenier garters from their dates' legs. The Class of 1991 truly changed the nature of the prom by holding the dance at The Sheraton Inn in Utica. The Class of 1994 was the last class, until the Class of 2011, to hold the prom on school grounds. Gone were the days of making reservations for the pre-prom dinner date. Gone was the need to dream up two outfits, one for dinner and the biggie outfit for the prom. Gone were the painted wall murals and tissue covered, chickenwire, bushes. Gone were the ornate centerpieces that took hours and hours to construct.

The wrap-up of the big night still includes the post-prom, 2 AM breakfast and the lakeside picnic held the dayafter the prom. Though its character may have altered a bit through the years, the prom tradition is as strong as ever. The memories of a night to remember live on and on.

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Created and maintained by Aileen Carney Sweeney - Class of 1974

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First Published January 15, 1999
Modified September 18, 2014