Because of religious and cultural beliefs that restrict interaction with boys, many of the Muslim students at Hamtramck High School in Michigan would not have been able to attend their senior prom, so they decided to hold one just for themselves – no boys invited.
The event unfolded with the theme “Once Upon a Time,” and it was a hit, Tharima Ahmed, one of the organizers of the school’s first girls-only prom, told ABCNews.com in an interview.
Ahmed, who is Muslim, formed the Princess Project committee with other students to raise funds and plan.
“We wanted to abide by the rules but still have fun,” the 17-year-old said of the April 28 event held inside a banquet hall in Hamtramck.
Among the estimated 120 girls who attended were Muslim students from the school’s other grades, those who had graduated without going to their own proms and non-Muslim students who were there to enjoy the evening with their friends.
Hamtramck is a diverse city. According to Census data, it is home to significant communities of Middle Easterners, Native Americans, African Americans, South Asians and Eastern Europeans, among other ethnicities.
Many of those ethnicities were in attendance at the prom, where the partiers crowned a duchess, princess and senior princess. Ahmed was crowned prom queen.
She is gratified by the support she has received in the school and from the wider community.
“By the end of the night, the girls were just amazed at how fun it was,” she said. “They just kept thanking me throughout the whole entire event for putting it together and I was just so happy. It made it all worthwhile.”
Asked how the boys may have felt about it, Ahmed replied that they didn’t mind at all.
“They really loved the idea. The guys really respected it,” she said.
Ahmed, who plans to study business at Wayne State University in the fall, said she felt as though she’d had “the full prom experience.”
The high school will host a traditional prom for boys and girls later this month, Janet Tabakovic, an English teacher who advised the Princess Project committee, told ABC News.
The girls-only prom is “an idea that has been floating around for a few years,” she said. “You would hear the girls say, ‘We should have a prom, we should have a prom, we should have a prom,’ but no one ever got together to do it. … This group of girls is very driven, and so they decided they really wanted it and they were going to do it.”
“It was really fantastic to see all of the girls who were there having so much fun and really enjoying themselves and, you know, being able to just dance if they want to dance and talk to who they want to talk to,” added Tabakovic, who attended the prom. “They really had a great time. It was really wonderful because, otherwise, they really wouldn’t have been to a prom at all.”