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The Formal


John Gavin © 2011


An event in the life of a young adult is the completion of secondary school. In the twelfth and final year, the last of secondary school, there is, “The Formal.” It is an event that is, in modern society, comparable with the “coming of age”

The young person looks on it with a mixture of excitement and trepidation; the family necessarily become involved and many eleventh year students take a keen interest in preparation for their own formal in the coming year.




Close friends of PiandO include Stephanie, whom they have known since her birth. Now in the final year of secondary school, Steph and other students attended their formal on a Saturday evening in March this year.

On the Gold Coast, the A. B. Patterson College is one of the first schools to have their formal. One reason being that the student does not become distracted from study and the final exams later in the year.

Preparation for the event commenced long before the night. For the girls in particular, the choice of dress is important, the choice of partner, some from

among the male students was another. PiandO were privileged to assist in the former but avoided interfering with the latter. The list of choice goes on, for instance, the method of transport to the function.

That is where practicality and innovation competed; perhaps even clashed. As it was, Steph, her Partner Peter; together with five other school-friends and escorts, arrived at the front entrance of the Hope Island Resort in a fire engine.

The means of conveyance included limousines (including a Rolls-Royce,) vintage cars and hot-rods while one couple arrived on push bikes. Not to be outdone, another couple arrived on a box trailer lined with hay bales and a full sized model horse. All alighted and paraded on the red carpet to enter the Resort amid cheers and applause from a huge crown of gathered teachers, family friends and students of the previous year.

The bright red carpet was lined with rope barriers. The lights from the resort and arriving conveyances created havoc for photographers. This all paled with the arrival of the ladies and their escorts. Without exception, they would have admirably graced the covers of Vogue.

Behind all this extravaganza, the organisation of the evening proceeded like clockwork in spite of the massive crowds. Preparations for the evening included the meal, presentations and the ball that followed.

This was where many of the ladies kicked of their shoes and danced the night away; well, until the Cinderella hour of midnight.

The excitement in the foyer was contagious, as hitherto concealed gowns were greeted with gasps of appreciation from

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