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Students Jump Over Hurdles to Make it to Prom on Time

By Stephanie Liu, Staff Writer

// Track star Mila Mathias paced arround her room, willing the polish on her nails to dry faster. Her prom dress and heels laid in a bag by the door. She took an SAT Subject Test in the morning, and her day was not about to get any easier. Unless her nails dried soon, her afternoon track event would ruin their pristine condition. After her event, she had only 45 minutes to prepare for prom.

Mathias was not the only student whose prior commitments coincided with prom. Events such as the Diablo Athletic League (DAL) track finals and the SAT, scheduled on May 4, interfered with students’ prom plans.

The DAL track finals, a much-anticipated track event, determined whether or not Acalanes athletes would continue to advance to North Coast Sectionals (NCS), a post-season track meet.

“If you get top six in your event, you qualify for the next track meet,” junior and track athlete Maren Quintella said. “But if you don’t, your season’s over, so it’s a pretty important meet.”

Because this event was so important in students’ track careers, many either arrived late or didn’t attend prom at all in order to participate in the DAL finals.

“Prom is my last priority because it’s just a dance. I can go next year and I’m lucky enough to be one of the ones getting to go. I have multiple friends who aren’t going because their events at the track meet are too late in the evening,” Quintella said.

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Courtesy Charlie Keohane

Athletes with earlier track events were a bit luckier, although they did have limited time to get ready.

“It is difficult because I have to do hurdles at 4:30 p.m. at Campo and the buses leave from Acalanes at 5:30 p.m., so with packing up my things and driving back to Acalanes, that gives me 30-45 minutes to get ready for prom, which is quite a busy experience. It’s going to be very hectic for me,” Mathias said.

The DAL finals and prom coincided on the same day last year, although the organizers then rescheduled DALs to take place in the morning instead of the afternoon. However, the SAT prevented the same accommodation this year.

“This year, with the SAT being in the morning, there was no way to move the track meet, so the track meet had to stay in the evening,” Mathias said.

For the most part, the track athletes were understanding about the scheduling difficulties.

“I’m happy with the way it is. It’s not in our control, it’s not anyone’s fault because the people that plan our prom and the track meet and the SAT are completely different people that have nothing to do with each other,” Mathias said.

Regardless, some athletes still expressed a degree of disappointment and frustration regarding the situation.

“I want to be able to enjoy going to prom and have the day to get ready but I am also expected to perform well these other two events,” Quintella said.

The Leadership Junior and Senior Class Officer boards in charge of prom-planning this year had a limited amount of control over the date, due to the fact that they book the venue a year and a half in advance, according to Junior Class Secretary Riley Nicosia.

Leadership did take other complications into consideration last year when planning the date for prom.

“We only had two dates, and one was on Passover and one was on the SAT and AP tests the following week, so either way we couldn’t exactly avoid a conflict of interest,” Nicosia said. “All weekends around this time are very busy and we did the best we could.”

The class officers held greater control over the actual event, from the activities, food, discounts from local businesses, and decorating.

“I designed the invitations this year and we delivered them to every student at Acalanes in 11th and 12th grade. We run the dress account as well as the promposal account and help with publicity for tickets and signing up for buses,” Nicosia said.

Evidently, the class officers had a lot on their plate. However, the experience of planning this iconic event had its upsides.

“My favorite part of organizing prom was my board because we had so much fun working together and I have such a close bond with them after doing such a high scale and stressful event. I also want to be an event planner when I am older so this was a great step in that direction,” Nicosia said.

Their hard work paid off as students seemed to really enjoy the prom activities.

“I liked how there was a variety of things so we didn’t have to all be in one area. It was spread out,” junior Monica Wang said.

The food at prom also garnered high praise from students, especially since the food remained accessible for the entire night.

Although some students experienced complications, prom remained a good experience for many.

“I really loved prom. I loved the venue,” Mathias said. “I love dancing and hanging out with my friends. I think I had a great time.”

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