SCDS teachers remember their own proms

Biology teacher Kellie Whited attended her prom on a yacht that went around the San Diego Bay.

Whited’s boyfriend of two years dumped her the week before prom.

“So my best friend ditched his date to take me,” Whited said. “In hindsight, I realize that it was evil of him to do that to her.”

For the after-prom party, Whited and her friends went to Planet Hollywood. The restaurant was closed to everyone except the seniors. They stayed there until 6 a.m.

During the last slow dance Whited said her best friend leaned in to kiss her.

“And then he professed his love for me,” Whited said. “So there was an awkward ending to the prom when I had to tell him I only thought of him as a friend.”


Robin Altman 

Chemistry teacher Robin Altman attended her senior prom at a marina. The theme was “Save Tonight” by Eagle-Eye Cherry.

Altman went to prom with a group of her friends. Altman suggested to her friends that they go to the Dahlia Lounge for dinner.

Her friend, who was driving, went home and told her parents the plan. The next day, Altman’s parents received a phone call from her friend’s parents.

“They heard the  name ‘lounge’ and thought we were going to hell in a handbasket,” Altman said.

Once Altman’s parents explained that the restaurant was, in fact, a family-friendly place, they were all allowed to go.

Altman’s history teacher brought his sailboat to the marina where the prom was being held. As the prom was finishing up, Altman, some of her friends and a few of the teachers went to see his sailboat.

“I really enjoyed seeing all my classmates and teachers dressed in their finery and on their best behavior,” Altman said. “It was old-fashioned, courteous style.”


Jane Batarseh

Latin teacher Jane Batarseh was asked to her junior prom by Jan Dudman, the class president. Batarseh was the class secretary.

“He had a big nose, curly black hair and was painfully shy,” Batarseh said.

Batarseh wore a Lanz dress. It was a silver, spaghetti-strap dress with small pink flowers on it. “But I think even more than the dress was the idea that a boy had asked me out,” Batarseh said. “It was like ‘Oh my God, a boy asked me out!’ It was amazing!”

She went to the Firehouse in Old Town for dinner. Because this was her first date, Batarseh had made a flashcard of possible conversation topics.

Batarseh and her date sat under a picture of a “very voluptuous woman.” She had just finished learning about the people who worked on the railroad. Batarseh said she pointed at the picture of the woman and said, “I assume that’s not Stanford” in an attempt to make conversation.

They did not talk much the whole evening, Batarseh said.

Dudman had a cold, so when they stood in front of the band, he had to blow his nose. His mother had pinned his handkerchief to the inside of his jacket.

“He was trying to nonchalantly pull it out because his nose was dripping,” Batarseh said. “He finally just ripped it out.”

Batarseh said it was the most awkward date she had ever been on.

Years later Batarseh was flying back to college and was on the same flight as Dudman. He told her he was at UCLA and would be attending law school the following year.

“My prom was 48 years ago,” Batarseh said. “Many things I have forgotten but not that.”


Daniel Neukom

When he was a junior in high school, history teacher Daniel Neukom approached his classmate Sherry Hoover and said that he would very much like to ask her to prom.

He went on a double date with his friend David Abernathy. They went to Fior d’Italia, which, according to Neukom, was one of the nicest restaurants in San Francisco in the 1960s.

“Both girls were very charmed that we took them to such a terrific restaurant,” Neukom said.

Neukom said he remembers having to secretly find out the color of the girl’s dress from her friend in order to buy her corsage.

That night, Neukom had his first kiss.

When Neukom was a freshman in college, he attended his high school’s senior ball with a girl who was a senior there.

Neukom took his date to “a very elegant French restaurant.” But at the end of the meal, he didn’t have enough money to pay for the bill.

“I had my checkbook with me, so I asked if I could please, please write a check for the rest of the money I owed,” he said.

He was able to pay the rest with a check although he was “deeply mortified.”


Sue Nellis

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History teacher Sue Nellis attended three proms, each with a different boyfriend.

The first was when she was a sophomore and dating a senior at another school, La Cañada.

For this prom, Nellis made her own dress. It was a full-length yellow sleeveless dress with sparkles on it.

Nellis attended her own junior prom with her boyfriend at that time, who was also a junior.

They were both part of the prom decorating committee. Since the gym ceilings were high, the students strung ropes around the ceiling. Then they tie-dyed white sheets different shades of blue and hung them up.

“It was like a sky with white clouds,” Nellis said.

Finally, Nellis attended her own senior prom with a new boyfriend who was much older.

The prom was at a big hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

“What I actually remember most is my parents letting me stay out till 3:30 in the morning,” Nellis said.


Glenn Mangold

For physics teacher Glenn Mangold, the most memorable part of his prom was the after party.

The party was held at a motel with a pool and a band in the banquet room, and some of the students were caught drinking by the pool.

“I wanted to talk to my date, and walk around the pool,” Mangold said. “We were already dating at that point.”

But, after students were caught drinking, everyone was locked in the banquet room with the band.

“It was really loud, so we couldn’t talk,” Mangold said. “The only time in my life I had ringing in my ears was the day after that.”


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