“Dust Bowl” prom theme highly unpopular among student body


Photo credit Kanav Kakkar

This year’s prom theme of “Dust Bowl” sparked controversy and outrage upon being announced last week, and student government is under fire for the historical theme. Based on the six-year period of severe dust storms that swept through the Midwest in the 1930s, student government assured students that this theme would be one to remember. 

“I don’t think they could have picked a worse theme, truly. No one wants this,” said senior Mildred L. Bonk. 

Bonk and fellow seniors are frustrated with this theme, but the student government assures the senior class that this prom theme is unique and educational. According to a representative from the prom planning committee, the decorations will include tumbleweeds, dead crops, and constant dust flying around Pressly. The food and drink provided is rumored to be canned meat and milk, with stale water offered to those with dietary restrictions. The music for that night is rumored to be three men from the Oklahoma Panhandle who call themselves the “Fiddle Me Timbers.” As the name suggests, they will be playing the fiddle and solely the fiddle. 

“We are Westminster students: intellectually curious and historically minded. We, of all people, should be ecstatic about this. With this theme, we combine the traditional all-American high school prom experience along with full immersion in an impactful part of the American Midwest’s history,” said an anonymous student government representative in an email sent to the entire student body. 

“I am all for this prom theme, personally. I believe that the artificial dust storm element of the decorations in Pressly will really help students grasp the full magnitude of the Dust Bowl,” said AP United States History teacher Eric Combest. 

“I didn’t even know what the Dust Bowl was. I thought it was a bowl football game between some random Midwestern schools,” said junior Hal Incandenza. “I had to look it up, and I still don’t really care.” 

A petition on Change.org named “Change the 2023 prom theme to literally anything else…” already has 187 signatures and a few donations to fund an alternate prom theme. 

“We’re also choosing four to five students to act as wealthy socialites and spit on the rest of the student body. Who knows what Mr. Evans will approve!” said co-chairs Byler Garris and Flauren Games. 

Student government has also advised students with asthma or other respiratory issues to bring a particulate respirator mask, preferably ones used on construction sites, to filter out the dust flying around Pressly. A Schoology update has provided links to purchase these masks online, along with a 10% discount code “DUSTBOWLPROM2023.”

Promposals have also gone along with the theme, with some history-loving students enthusiastically embracing this period. Senior Michael Pemulis donned a President Franklin D. Roosevelt costume to ask his date to the prom with a square of sheet metal rather than a posterboard to preserve historical accuracy. The poster board included an FDR quote regarding the Dust Bowl, but with a fun twist: 

“I shall never forget the fields of wheat so blasted by heat that they cannot be harvested. I shall never forget field after field of corn stunted, earless and stripped of leaves, for what the sun left the grasshoppers took. And you shall never forget PROM WITH ME?” carved into the sheetmetal. 

In an attempt to increase excitement about this theme, the English Department has added the 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck to their curriculum and all history classes have now included a lengthy Dust Bowl unit. The Math Department has also joined in on the fun, making students count the number of particles in a pile of dust. This has proved to have had the opposite effect on students and has led to more pushback against the theme. 

“I don’t understand why adding more school work would be unpopular with Westminster students,” said Garris and Games. “I thought this would get us hype!” 

The artificial dust storms are currently being set up for prom in Pressly by the IT Department and Facilities, and destroyed topsoil has been scattered around for the dance floor. Grab your feed-sack dresses and your coveralls, because this prom is one to be disappointed in!