By SHASHWAT CHUGH, senior
The bell was met with a simultaneous, almost coordinated, cheer by one quarter of the JP Stevens populace. The clock had struck 11:22 AM. Prom – long anticipated, fervently prepared for, endlessly discussed – was nearly upon the JP Stevens Class of 2012. Its story, however, begins long before that Friday. Prom is the stuff of high school lore, a gathering dramatized to no end by popular culture and eagerly awaited by many since the moment they set foot in ninth grade. Months (and for some, years) before May, females had begun to scout for elegant dresses and hairstyles. Their male counterparts were no less active, seeking out dates and meticulously crafting prom proposals that ranged from simplistic to creative to downright awesome. Some of the highlights: a senior-parking lot flash mob, an EMS vehicle adorned with a massive sign, various musical serenades, a town-wide scavenger hunt, and, in keeping with JP’s Academic tradition, a series of science lab-themed proposals.
That same buzz reached its peak in the days and hours before the doors swung open at the New Brunswick Hyatt Regency. Negotiating the trials and tribulations of the annual promenade was no easy endeavor. Male and female alike dove headlong into last minute preparation – throwing on tuxes and dresses, carefully fashioning hairstyles and nails, and purchasing (and discovering how to pronounce) corsages and boutonnieres. Some were sufficiently worn out by the process. Said a suave-looking Neil Nadpara (senior) at one of the many pre-prom events, “Preparing and getting everything done for this event has been pretty draining. Hopefully it’s worth it.”
So was it? Demonized by some as an oppressive and exhausting social obligation, glorified by others, prom, perhaps fittingly, fell somewhere in between. The night inevitably had its bumps. It featured a claustrophobia-inducing dance floor, an overly socially connected DJ (Follow him on twitter!), and food that reminded a tad too much of the JP cafeteria. And, yet — on this night — few seemed to care. The reveling continued undisturbed. People spoke, laughed, posed for endless pictures and enjoyed the company of their friends. On the floor, seniors danced until their feet ached, fist bumped and head bobbed until their necks and wrists were sore, and chanted until their voices were hoarse. “The energy was amazing,” says senior Tarnjit Singh. He adds, beaming, that he started a “Wildwood chant” that unsurprisingly swept up the entire crowd.
Walking in to Prom, each senior had their own reasons for excitement. Some for the pictures, some for the dancing, and some, inevitably, for the post-prom festivities (When the party really begins, according to senior Pathik Shah). But as the hour hand on May 18th raced towards 11, this writer found prom to boil down to something much larger and simpler than all of that. It was about the people. It was about building memories and experiences with individuals who had grown together for the last four years. As diverging destinations beckon, prom offered the JP Stevens Class of 2012 one of its final moments to spend and enjoy together. And that, in this humble writer’s opinion, was more than enough to make this a night to remember.