Underclassmen attendees have unique experiences during prom



The underclassmen who attended prom in 2019 pose at Spring Lake Bath and Tennis Club.

Senior Michael Landolfi of Tinton Falls went to prom last year with his significant other Bella Carmona-Ramirez of Long Branch, now-junior but sophomore at the time.  

“She was an underclassman but that didn’t really matter, because she matters to me,” Landolfi said.

Prom is a highly-anticipated high school event traditionally reserved for juniors and seniors. But when an upperclassman student extends the invitation to a younger friend or significant other, those underclassmen get a unique opportunity.

Carmona-Ramirez believes that prom is a more highly anticipated event when compared with other school dances, especially for upperclassmen. She felt that it was exciting being at prom when she was “not supposed to be there.”  

“It’s kind of the vibe,” Carmona-Ramirez said. “I guess I hate to say it that way, but it’s true.”

Principal James Gleason said that he is fine with freshman or sophomores attending prom as long as they are invited by an upperclassman and they follow all procedures.

“Prom season certainly causes concern for student safety for all school administrators,” Gleason said. “That’s why we spend extra time with students during prom season to explain our concerns, review rules and expectations.”

Junior Steven Ostrom of Lincroft attended three proms during his freshman and sophomore years. His past experiences definitely helped him set expectations for this year’s event, and he also said that prom is a good time to bond with upperclassmen; he made friends he wouldn’t have made otherwise.

“There was nobody who was like ‘Oh, underclassman,’” Ostrom said. “People are much more accepting here.”

Carmona-Ramirez is also the junior class president, and she and the council are very excited to plan next year’s prom.  

“Prom gave a better idea of what people want,” Carmona-Ramirez said. “You get to experience how people react, a better visual, and you’re a part of the feedback.”

Senior Ryan Swanson of Brielle brought an underclassmen to prom last year. He believes that no matter who you bring, prom is the best time to just let everything go and enjoy yourself while still and making smart decisions.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Swanson said. “All you can do is live in the moment… prom is just an experience.”

“Enjoy it, honestly,” Carmona-Ramirez said. “Enjoy it because it can be really fun, and don’t freak out about it if you’re an underclassman because you still have 2 more years of prom ahead of you.”