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Prom night

Tonight they will turn out in their finest, the girls in ball gowns and after-five dresses, hair swept up, necklaces and wrists glittering with rhinestones; the boys, in tuxedos in every style from traditional black and white, to eye-popping colors coordinating with their dates' gowns.

It's officially senior prom season in Butler County. Georgiana High School is kicking things off tonight with &#8220A Romantic Evening,” Paris-style.

The juniors, including GHS students such as Michael Campbell, Alex McLaughlin, Franchasea Hatcher, Sarah Lowery, Carmen Bozeman, Corissa Peavy and Barbara Watson worked on Friday to transform the school auditorium.

The room had been turned into a wonderland of red, white and blue (or rouge, blanc and bleu, as the French would say), complete with silver stars cascading from the ceiling and a red &#8220carpet” (we don't want to give too much away and spoil the surprise for the seniors).

Senior lead-out is slated for 8 p.m., and no doubt Georgiana students have been and will be making those all-important visits to their hair stylists, manicurists, tuxedo rental spots, et al., as they prepare for one of the biggest nights of the school year.

&#8220We are looking forward to a great event,” GHS Principal Keith York said.

Except for a few finishing touches, the juniors say they are ready, too, to kick the prom season off in Butler County…

Proms: an evolution

Proms have gotten much more elaborate than in the early days. Back then, fancy dresses, rental tuxedos, DJs with tons of equipment, including

video screens, and elaborate decorations geared to a specific theme, were all unknown.

A hundred years ago, young guys and gals would have simply donned their Sunday clothes and danced in a rather formal atmosphere that is a far cry from today's bashes.

By the 1930s and ‘40s, jazz and swing became the craze, with more kids dancing than ever. Jitterbugging was a great way to dance away concerns about going to war or having to work on the family farm instead of going to college.

By the ‘50s, prom started to evolve into the extravaganza it is today. Girls began to dress &#8220to the nines,” choosing the fanciest, fluffiest frocks to wear for one special night.

The idea of a prom king and queen was introduced by some high school along the way, and small bands began to get booked as doo-wop and rock n' roll gained popularity among teenagers.

By the ‘80s and ‘90s, DJs and their loads of tunes began to replace the live bands – after all, who wants one sound, when &#8220Funky Frank” or &#8220Wild Bill” can provide just about any song you would ever want to hear?

What was once a dance for only seniors became, over time, a mixed dance with different grade levels. These days, it's mostly juniors who do the decorating, serve the refreshments and introduce the seniors on their lead-out (lead-outs being another modern prom invention).

Students of all grades and even other schools often attend the prom.

Yes, prom night is a lot different than in the old days. Some students arrive in limos; the music's so loud you can't hope to carry on a conversation, and kids are spending small fortunes on clothes, accessories and photos.

A lot of work goes into one night of dancing.

The memories, however, just might last a lifetime.

The Greenville High School Prom is slated for Saturday, April 8; McKenzie High School will hold their prom on Saturday, April 22 and Fort Dale Academy will hold their prom on Friday, May 5.