Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Nothing exceeds like excess

Do you feel like High School proms have gotten out of control? If so, you are not alone. Brother Kenneth Hoagland, Principal of the Kellenberg School—a Roman Catholic private school—said,
We watched a pattern develop. Twenty years ago, seniors went to the beach after the prom and then to someone's house for breakfast. From that, it's turned into a weekend-long orgy that every year has become incrementally more excessive.
Last year Hoagland felt problems reached what should be their peak when 46 seniors at his school made a $10,000 down payment on a $20,000 rental house in the Hamptons for a post-prom party. The students were forced to cancel the contract, but some parents went ahead and rented a Hamptons house anyway. This year, the school is fighting back declaring the excess of the prom to have gone too far with 11 school administrators signing a letter to parents declaring the prom to be, "an exaggerated rite of passage that verges on decadence." The school has canceled this school year's prom.

Interestingly, Hoagland has been widely quoted as saying,
It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake—in a word, financial decadence.
Amy Best, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at George Mason University in Virginia and the author of Prom Night: Youth, Schools and Popular Culture has written, "It is a huge misperception that the kids themselves are totally driving this." She also sees parents who foot the bill as sharing the blame. Find out more about the high school's change of plans in an article at or another article at the Guardian Limited.

What do you think? Was the principal on target? Is financial decadence the problem? And what about Bests' comments? How much blame do parents share in prom problems? Is this a local problem for us too, or is this decadence just a Long Island thing?

Raise a child up
in the way he should go
and when he grows old,
he will not depart from it.
—Proverbs 22:6


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