The roots of the senior prom date back to the 19th century, at a time when colleges were separated by gender. The prom—short for promenade—was an opportunity for young men and young ladies to meet and mingle at a formal party. The idea moved to younger ages in the 1920s and evolved into the modern-day prom, complete with tuxedos, limousines, over-the-top "promposals," and, of course, the infamous prom "court."

The fact that students are still being asked to vote among their peers for a "king" and a "queen" of the prom is somewhat baffling. The idea felt outdated when I was in high school decades ago. Am I missing something, or is it really just a glorified popularity contest where the naturally outgoing and beautiful among the student body get the privilege of winning a prize that has no real meaning or significance?

Traditions are odd things when you step back and look at them objectively. Many people aren't able to do that, which is why there's so often an uproar when traditions get broken or messed with in some way. But not all traditions are worth keeping—or at least worth being precious about.

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