Prom is an event that all high school seniors look forward to. At BL, upperclassmen revel in all that prom has to offer: a gorgeous venue (Center Club at the top of 100 Light Street), fun attractions (seniors take a tugboat ride across the Harbor), and an exciting post-prom (Vane Brothers, right on the water). But there’s something especially enticing about BL’s prom, something that’s gained national attention: the tradition of board shorts and sneakers.
It’s an age old question, to wear board shorts or not to wear board shorts. In a 1999 article by Jenn Williams of the Baltimore Sun, Kevin Murphy, then head of the Upper School, said, “It’s not a tradition we’ve tried to promote.”
But 17 years later, the tradition is alive. Senior Matt Marshall said, “It gives you a little bit of classy and casual, which is something I like to represent in everyday life.”
“It goes well with my date’s dress,” chimed in senior Austin Campodonico. “Also, it’s swag.”
According to a class photo on Smug Mug, all but one senior wore board shorts to Prom in 2014.
This year, however, the number of dissenters might rise. “I like to dress up,” said senior Shawn Stepney. “The board shorts throw it off for me.”
Even underclassmen take notice of the tradition. Patrick McDermot, a freshman and style fanatic, when asked if he will wear board shorts when his time comes, said “Probably not. I’m not that adventurous.”
The Sun article shed some light on a tradition that was very groundbreaking in 1999, but is now seen as par for the course at Boys’ Latin. It did, however, mention that a number of schools in the area, including Gilman and St. Paul’s, took part in the tradition. Over time, these schools dropped the board shorts in favor of slacks and polished loafers, but not BL.
Seniors in board shorts at 2009’s prom. Photo from PJ Johnson Photography.
It’s a divisive tradition, to say the least. Some hate it, some make fun of it (Gilman had a “Boys’ Latin Day” in the fall where they came into school with tuxedo tops and board shorts), but some love it. St. Paul’s scheduled their prom on the same day as BL’s, but already a number of SPSG girls have decided to come to the Center Club instead.
This much is true: BL’s prom is set to be the most colorful, fun, and leg-y prom out there.