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Catholic school principal cancels prom events, decrying a “a pursuit of vanity for vanity’s sake”

.- A Catholic school principal, Brother Kenneth M. Hoagland decided to cancel the spring prom, because of the abuses and decadence such an event produces.

The principal of Kellenberg Memorial High school in Long Island, a member of he Society of Mary (Marianists), that actually owns the school, made the announcement in a letter addressed to the parents.

"it is (..) the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake - in a word, financial decadence," said Hoagland, fed up with what he called the "bacchanalian aspects."

The outpouring of wealth and money spend for such an event that makes it

"Each year get worse - becomes more exaggerated, more expensive, more emotionally traumatic," he added. "We are withdrawing from the battle and allowing the parents full responsibility. (Kellenberg) is willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy," he said.

The move brought a mixed, albeit passionate, reaction from students and parents at the Roman Catholic school..

Hoagland began talking about the future of the prom last spring after 46 Kellenberg seniors made a $10,000 down payment on a $20,000 rental in the Hamptons for a post-prom party. When school officials found out, they forced the students to cancel the deal; the kids got their money back and the prom went on as planned.

"A lot of people have lamented the growing consumption that surrounds the prom, (..)it is not uncommon for students to pay $1,000 on the dance and surrounding folderol: expensive dresses, tuxedo rentals, flowers, limousines, pre- and post-prom parties," says Amy Best, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at George Mason University in Virginia and the author of "Prom Night: Youth, Schools and Popular Culture."

"The school has excellent values," said Margaret Cameron of Plainview. "We send our children here because we support the values and the administration of the school and I totally back everything they do." This comment showed the support of parents for the principles decision.

Hoagland said in an interview that parents, who pay $6,025 in annual tuition, have expressed appreciation for his stern stand. "For some, it (the letter) was an eye-opener," he said. "Others feel relieved that the pressure is off of them."

Chris Laine, a senior from Rockville Centre, said the cancellation was "unfortunate, but you can't really argue with the facts they present. ... It's just what it's evolved into. It's not what it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago. It's turned into something it wasn't originally intended to be."

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