By Louis Hoglund

“A Celebration of Cultures”  evening may be an alternative to the traditional Prom for students at Pelican Rapids High School.

The idea of a special evening for girls was posed to the Pelican Rapids School Board earlier in January, by student Danielle Arntson.

“There are girls in the community who don’t expect to go to prom,” said Arntson, explaining the special dinner event for girls in grades 9-12. “We found that so many want to be involved; but they don’t have the opportunity.”

There are a number of reasons some girls don’t attend prom.  Among them, the simple fact that they may not have a date, said Arntson. Also, in a culturally-diverse community like Pelican Rapids, some are inhibited for cultural and religious reasons–such as young Muslim girls and women.  Further–there is the question of the expense connected to Prom.

“We want to create an opportunity for young women of our school to come together and have fun without worries,” stated the written proposal, which was presented to the school board.

Pelican’s proposed “Celebration of Cultures” evening is patterned somewhat after a similar event, launched in 2007, for Muslim girls at the University of Minnesota.  The event gave young women a prom-like evening–without violating any cultural rules.

Arntson is working with Pelican school staffer Nadine Brown on the event, which is expected to attract about 70. Date is April 22, in the commons area of the high school.

The event is not the same night as prom, and Arntson did not view it as “competing” with prom.  Rather, it is intended to be an additional event, with a multi-cultural theme.

The budget for the event is estimated at about $1,500, with catering by Larry’s Super Market–but also ethnic foods from the Somali Halal Market and Escobar’s Mexican Restaurant in Pelican.

Most special events and corresponding fundraising are approved by the school board early in the school year. As a result, the event requires a special approval.

Admission price, of $15 to $20,  is expected to cover most of the cost.

School board member Dena Johnson described the proposal as “excellent, phenomenal idea.”