Hear ye, hear ye: No cleavage

Students host their own medieval-themed ‘clean prom’

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A modesty rule banning bare shoulders, legs and chests didn’t keep 100 area high school students away from a “clean prom” held earlier this month in Dalton Gardens. Local 11th-graders organized the dance, which was not connected to any school, after feeling uncomfortable at their homecoming dance last fall. From left, back: Alisabeth Stephens, David Priebe, Adam Ratigan, Jenna Niccolls, Scott Lee, Alex Gunnerson, Jamin Jeske, Julian Datum, Emmalee Priebe . Front: Barbara Larson, Brianna Ball, and Brook Tingey.

COEUR d'ALENE - It was a junior prom with a modesty rule.

That's how the teens who planned it wanted it.

Barbara Larson, 16, said they planned their "clean prom" because they didn't feel comfortable at their homecoming dance last fall.

"There was a lot of making out, too much," Larson said.

And the dirty dancing was a little too dirty, she said.

Tami Hern's son, Jackson, felt the same way.

"He said, ‘You do parties all the time, can you do one for us?'" Hern said. "So in November, I started meeting some kids and it went off without a hitch."

The modesty rule required that all shoulders be covered; gowns had to have at least a 2-inch strap. Dress and gown lengths had to be modest, and no cleavage.

The 10 students who organized the dance put signs up at school, and told others about it on Facebook.

Everyone was invited, if they agreed to abide by the rules set up by the student planners.

Nearly 100 students from Coeur d'Alene, Lake City, Post Falls, and Lakeland high schools attended the Saturday night formal.

The dance was planned and held independent of any school.

"It was a lot of fun. There were a few who went to the regular school prom also, and they said they had a lot of fun at this one," said Larson, a junior at Coeur d'Alene High School.

Tickets cost $10 each, and all proceeds went toward paying for food, a DJ, party supplies, and the cost of renting the space where the prom was held, an empty storefront on Government Way in Dalton Gardens.

Hern helped the students transform the space into a medieval-themed square, with a castle left over from a wedding Hern previously catered.

There was a knight, actually a suit of armor on loan from the video store at Super 1 Foods, and a set of masquerade ball-style masks that Pier One Imports lent to be used as decorations.

"They had everything they would have had at a prom. I love that it was kids from all over the area out there dancing," Hern said. "There was no one standing near the wall alone."

There will likely be a similar senior prom next year. Kids are already asking for it, Hern said.

"They were calling it the ‘squeaky clean prom,' but I call it the ‘no cleavage' prom," Hern said with a chuckle.

Prom planners brought plenty of shawls and shoulder wraps in case anyone showed up with shoulders exposed. Only three of the shawls were used.

Barbara Larson's mother, Lauri, acted as photographer. Students paid $5 for a set of photos. The photo fee helped cover prom costs, and paid for each student to receive a disk with photos.

"It turned out absolutely beautiful. When I came out of the room where I was taking the photographs, I saw that kids were dancing, laughing and having fun," Lauri said.

She was impressed with her daughter for helping spearhead an event that provided an alternative prom students could enjoy without feeling the discomfort of peer pressure.

"I wished I would have stood up for things like that when I was young," Lauri said.


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