April 6, 2011 -- It's a rite of passage for high school students, the prom. It comes with all the anxiety of being asked, being asked by the wrong person, rejected, not asked, what to wear -- the teen angst that's come to be known as "proma."
The Aquin Junior-Senior High School in Freeport, Ill., has a tradition that is designed to take the stress out of the prom. Students select their dates through a random drawing that they call "prom draw." They have no control over who they are assigned, and everyone gets a date.
"They love it. It takes all the stress of trying to figure out who you're going ask to prom," Laura Diemer, director of communications for the private Catholic school, told ABCNews.com.
Diemer said prom draw started in the 1920s as a way to allow its students who lived in a nearby orphanage the chance to go to the prom.
The practice evolved over the decades into an elaborate affair. About one month before the prom, students who will attend the dance put their names into the drawing. The boys draw their own names first in order to select the order in which they will choose their dates' names.
Each boy then pulls an envelope containing a girl's name from a bin, and a staff member opens the envelope and reads the girl's name.
The boys then perform elaborate skits, often in dresses, to entertain the assembled girls before formally inviting their "dates" to the prom.
"The guys always get down on one knee and they ask the girls if they would go to prom with them," Diemer added.
In the event that there is an unequal number of boys and girls, sophomores are invited to the prom to round things out, she added.
"It's just a date and it's a good time. They just really, really enjoy doing it," she added.
"Prom" is short for "promenade," and the website PrettyforProm.com says the dances have been around since the 1880s. The first ones were held at the elite Northeast colleges where parents saw them as a way to teach social etiquette.
They have expanded into all-night affairs with stretch Hummers, expensive hairdressing appointments, pre-prom dinners and after-event activities -- and some would sayvery little etiquette as proms were increasing venues for dirty dancing and plunging necklines.
A group of students in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, chose to have what they call a "clean" prom. They made that decision after feeling uncomfortable at the behavior – including making out and suggestive dancing -- displayed at their homecoming dance last fall, according to a report in the Coeur d'Alene Press.
Modesty rules required that girls at the prom cover their shoulders and show no cleavage.
Prom planners had extra shawls and shoulder wraps on hand just in case someone arrived with exposed shoulders, but only three of the shawls were used, the paper said.
One of the teen organizers, Jackson Hern, told the newspaper that the dance was a hit.
"They were calling it the 'squeaky clean prom,' but I call it the 'no cleavage' prom," he said.
Prisoners Cater Colorado Prom
The prom at Haxtun High School in Haxtun, Colo., is making news for its choice of caterer -- the inmates at nearby Sterling Correctional Facility.
The prison has an inmate culinary training program. The prom's menu will feature chicken alfredo, a side of vegetables or salad and cheesecake served in the high school's cafeteria, Jeff Plumb, an agriculture teacher at the high school, told ABC News affiliate KMGH.
Despite being incarcerated, the prison chefs have a good reputation.
"It's just quite common around here," Darcy Garretson, who's both the Haxtun schools superintendent and the high school principal, told KMGH.
How to Ask a Girl to the Prom
As if asking a girl to the prom wasn't stressful enough, California teenager Jason Pitts surprised intended prom date Lianna Cohen by serenading her with his request -- in class.
Guitar in hand, Pitts walked into Cohen's third-period class at Santa Monica High School and started to sing, backed by several of his friends.
"I've been planning this for a few months now and I really wanted to ask Lianna in a cute way and I have a passion for music, and I wrote a song specifically for the occasion," Pitts said during an appearance on "Good Morning America".
Lianna said yes, although Pitts confessed that "had an inkling" that she would be okay with it.
The video of the prom moment has been viewed nearly 200,000 times since it was posted to YouTube on March 27. Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Pitts appears to have won the hearts of teenage girls and women across the country. Guys not so much.
It's All About the Dress
Everyone remembers what they wore to the prom, and the angst they had in choosing just the right outfit. Some girls have gotten creative and worn dresses made out of duct tape. Others have worn outrageous get-ups and gained instant notoriety.
Philadelphia retailer Dress Goddess is offering a dress that will make any girl the star of the prom: for a price.
The company took a dress from the designer La Femme and customized it with diamonds, bumping up the price from $398 to $13,997.
"It's safe to say that there are literally hundreds of diamonds on each dress," Dress Goddess founder Jon Liney told ABCNews.com.
Two of the dresses have already sold, but the buyers were adults who were no longer of prom age, Liney noted.
The dress is pricey, but there's been "enormous interest" from prospective high school graduates, Liney added.
"What I look at is the continuing love of celebrity culture and shows like 'My (Super) Sweet 16,'" he said, referring to the MTV Show that showcases the lavish sweet 16 parties thrown by the super-rich for their children. "You could surely watch that show and then think of our dress and say, 'Well it's not totally out of the realm that a parent may buy this dress for their daughter.'"
ABC News' Susan Donaldson James contributed to this report.