homecoming prom wears

By Carlos Arnaldo

As the school year begins, let me say a few words on behalf of our students, especially in grade school and high school, public or private. Their parents may also appreciate what I have to say.

So often are young students badgered by their eager teachers to join a cheer dance and pay 500 pesos for a T-shirt, "or you fail the semester." But T-shirts cost less than 100 pesos, and even with custom drawing or design, less than P150.

"All of you are expected to attend your prom and wear a long barong or long gown."

In many rural areas, families dont have the funds to purchase a 1,000-peso barong or a 3,000-peso gown or even rent one for 800 pesos, to be used only once!

One student recounted how he had to borrow a barong from a distant cousin; shorten and still hitch up the pants of another; and borrow old brown leather shoes from yet another. But he was determined to go to the prom for his partner was his sweetheart!

The worst part of this celebration is that it is often enforced with the threat of not graduating.

Worst are class projects or field trips where the group of 20 or so is asked to pay for a jeep from the school to the pier, then a bangka to some paradise island and stay three nights at a resort with several cottages.

Of course, the jeepney is owned by a cousin, the bangka belongs to an uncle and a step-cousin rents the cottages, with the teacher collecting the commission on all these transactions from some 20 to 25 students.

One of my scholars complained to me she had to pay 8,000 pesos for such a field trip! Or risk not passing the semester.

I am not discouraging cheer dances or proms or school projects or outings. But I think some basic rules have to be laid down.

First of all, we as teachers, should not try to make money on our students. It is unethical and demeaning!

Second, we should try to seek the best prices for objects or services that have to be purchased.

We should teach this sense of economy to our students. If there is some loose change or any amount left, why not put that into a class kitty and save it for a class celebration?

All graduates want to celebrate with a prom or school dance. So lets relax the dress code to what can be afforded by the class.

If they can afford a barong and long gown, sure, go ahead.

If not, why not organize the dance around a theme like barrio fiesta, and have the guests sport old-fashioned rural outfits, boys in loose pants and camiso de chino with a red scarf; and girls in plaid skirts and white cotton kimono blouse with colored scarves? homecoming prom wears

These can be easily designed and sewn at home or by a local costurera.

Designing and sewing these costumes could also be part of the class project. Or try a simpler dress code of jeans and T shirts. It is also easier for dancing! Use your imagination.

School is for learning, not for earning! And not for threatening failure or non-graduation.