About the Author

by: Ana T.M.

Ana was born in Mexico on June 1st, 1994 in Tepic Mexico. She moved to Rockford, Il when she was two years old. After about five years she moved back to Mexico where she lived for four years. Then her family decided to move back to Rockford where she lives currently and attends Guilford High School. She enjoys reading, writing, and watching movies with her friends. She has an older sister and an older brother ( who graduated from NIU). Her absolute favorite things are theatre, dancing, acting and singing and community service. After graduation she plans to continue onto college. She would like to move to New York City and attend Columbia University. She hopes to become a pediatrician and one day work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Letter To Racine Board

July 14, 2011

To The Racine Town Board:

My name is Elizabeth Portman. I am a former teacher of the Racine school district and a sixty five-year resident of the city. I am writing in response to the meeting, which took place July 11th, regarding the decision of hosting, or not hosting prom. After having considered all of the arguments, I have come to the conclusion that our prom celebration should be continued, as long as the board puts some regulations in place to make it even better.

There were many members of our community who believe that prom has gotten to be too extravagant. I may agree with these arguments, due to the fact that during my prom experience I made my own dress and was dropped off by my parents there was no over spending involved. On the other hand prom extravagance, including cost, can be managed. It was said that the average American family spends $807 on their preparations for prom. This, I believe could be avoided if the parents set up a budget for their children and they could use it as a learning experience for their kids, since budgeting skills are needed in the work world. The fact of the matter is citizens spend because they want to. Racine does not advertise the slogan "Over Spend on Prom" during the prom season. Therefore other children, who know how to manage their spending, should not be punished.

It is also important to address the inappropriateness of prom. This is an issue that needs to be fixed. In prom, adolescents are under peer pressure, and do things that could put their physical and moral well being in jeopardy. Issues like dancing in an indecorous way and drinking excessively need to be regulated. Chaperones could set up check points around the prom celebration premises in order to keep the students from drinking. Organizers of the event could set up a point system. The system would give points to students that are dancing indecorously, once a student reaches five points they would be asked to leave the celebration. Once things like these are addressed, then our prom celebration can be continued.

A group of school teachers argued that prom is a way of giving the students a coming of age celebration. Our children should be given this celebration. Many of the students cannot afford big coming of age parties, things like sweet sixteen parties, quinceƱera, or a Bar Mitzvah. This is a way for the community to give back to the students, or the future of this town. With our prom celebration we are showing the students that the community is interested and cares about them. It makes each of them feel special and loved, even if their household is dysfunctional.

Finally, the prom celebration is an all-American tradition. This celebration has been a part of our culture since the nineteenth century. I, for instance, attended the first prom Racine hosted. I will say it is where I fell in love with my husband and it was a night I will always remember. Prom also presents itself in films and it is almost as notable to the American society as baseball is. From my knowledge every high school I have ever heard of hosts prom, only difference is that Racine makes it more community involved.

Prom is necessary to our students. With this celebration we give them a coming of age. Parents can also use this celebration to teach valuable morals that will shape their lives and their decisions in the future. It is true, that our prom celebration needs some adjustments and regulations, but it can also bring the whole community together as a family. In addition the community involvement may lead to the inspiration of new projects to help with the other problems the city is facing, such as economic challenges.

Please consider continuing the wonderful tradition of a Racine prom celebration.
Elizabeth Portman