is a small , progressive public high school on West
Fifty-Eighth Street, with a graduating class of sixty,
almost all of whom are going on to college. For the
first time in the school's seven-year history, the
seniors were to be allowed to choose a prom king and
queen. The tradition defies Landmark's egalitarian
philosophy , but a small group of girls had campaigned
until the teachers relented -- on one condition. The
winners' names would be pulled from a hat. Even with
this compromise, Vivian Orlen, the school''s assistant
principal was nervous. 'There's one particular girl,
Elizabeth. If she doesn't get it, I swear she'll jump
off the boat,' she said."
also had the opportunity to get the point of view
of Elizabeth. "'Oh, my God, I want to be prom
queen so bad,' Elizabeth said. Her face was sweet
and stony at the same time. 'I've worked so hard,
spent so much money on my appearance. -- and now it's
that Shapiro refers to is one in which a handsome
couple are chosen to preside over the prom celebration.
Nerds need not apply. The tradition is practiced in
thousands of North American high schools every year.