The high school where prom dates are luck of the draw

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One high school has taken the angst out of finding a prom date.

At the small Aquin High School in Freeport, Illinois, students are assigned their prom dates ensuring nobody misses out.

The tradition started in 1926, reportedly as a way to include children from the local orphanage, who wouldn't normally get a chance to attend prom. Nearly 90 years on and the students have voted each year to keep the tradition alive.

Prior to prom, the girls wait in the gym while the boys go into the library and draw the names of their dates at random. The boys then do skits for the girls before revealing who their dates are. If there are an odd number of students, then younger students are asked to take part.

"I am the third generation of my family to participate in the prom draw," Aquin junior Maggie Bald told TODAY. "Having a school of less than 100 students, we are more like a family."

"It doesn't matter who draws which name," Bald said. "We get along with everyone. Since 90 percent of us have been going to school together since kindergarten, we are very close."

The students are big supporters of it. Even students with girlfriends and boyfriends take part in the draw.

"It's less of a date and more like something fun to do with your classmates," junior class adviser Michelle Gallagher told NBC affiliate WREX.

The tradition has unsurprisingly received its share of criticism.


"This is worse than the 'everyone gets a trophy,'" tweeted Katie Gjerde. "We have to quit protecting our kids from failure! Failure is how they learn!"

But students were quick to support the school.

"This isn't about learning failure," said Georgia James. "We go to a small school and all vote to keep this tradition of 90 years alive. We have several other dances each year where we can ask anyone we want."

Looks like this tradition will continue for years to come.