April 2003
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Fredericton's Freak Show
By: Casey W., Grade 12, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Throngs of people are gathered outside. Their faces painted with frantic anticipation. They stand back as yet another limo pulls up to the curb and their heads glance up as they hear the roar of a helicopter landing nearby. They ooh and ahh as they catch sight of the gorgeous dresses. The flashing lights of their cameras are almost blinding. Sounds like a scene from the Oscars doesn t it?

But it's not.

It is the scene of a typical Fredericton High School Prom. The people of Fredericton have exaggerated their prom to such a degree that it is ridiculous.

The whole city gathers around the Sheraton Hotel, regardless of whether their kid is in attendance or not, and they fawn over these innocent teenagers. That is weird in itself but then, once every graduate has arrived, the crowd watches as the teens line up with their dates and there is a procession down a red carpet complete with stops for photos.

As much as I hate to admit it I was cajoled into watching the prom last year. I had to see if the rumours were true. I wasn’t disappointed. The experience was surreal - it was a first hand glimpse into the snobbery and idiosyncrasies that go along with living in a small city. It was shocking to hear the mothers, huddled closely in their little cliques discussing whose daughter was the prettiest and who had really been a let-down. Of course, their favorite topic was letting everyone know how much their daughter had spent on her dress - it was even better if she had gotten it out of town.

The whole experience was disgusting. Prom should not be about having the fanciest car, the most expensive dress or the best-looking date. It is about celebrating your graduation with friends perhaps some of whom you may never see again. It should not have to be built up by such materialistic investments. Prom, in actuality, is not even that big of a deal. It is simply an opportunity for the life timers to shine - the kids who won't be going on to bigger and better things. These same kids will become the parents who continue this bizarre Fredericton tradition.


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