For Dubai resident Zeineldein, the highlight of his inaugural prom wasn't the formal attire or the arrival in a limousine with friends. Rather, it was the communal spirit he felt by the night's end. "The most enjoyable aspect of prom was the sense of community," he remarked. "During the event, everyone felt like close friends. Moreover, former students made surprise visits."

The 16-year-old Repton School student is among hundreds in the UAE who have attended year-end proms across the country in recent weeks. Proms typically are formal dance parties held in hotel ballrooms. "The event was hosted at the H hotel, featuring a night of music and dancing in the ballroom with everyone in their finest attire," he noted. "This was my first time, and honestly, it surpassed my expectations."

Some proms are student-organized, while others are school-led. "I've witnessed a mix of student and school-organized proms, but ours was student-led," he explained. Proms are usually held for students who have completed board exams, typically at the end of Year 11 and Year 13 in British syllabus schools, or Grade 10 and Grade 12 in other schools.

For Cambridge International School Dubai student Minha Shanod, the eagerly anticipated prom marked the culmination of nine months of planning. "My friend Miraya approached me in September, suggesting I organize the prom," she recalled. "I agreed and started organizing in October." Her initial step was contacting hotels in Dubai. "I emailed 68 hotels, and only half replied," she said. "I then shortlisted based on their quotes and sought DJs, photo booths, photographers, and awards for the night, adjusting finances and ticket prices accordingly."

Deciding ticket prices proved the most challenging. "The initial ticket price was Dh275," she said. "I then secured cheaper quotes, reducing the photo booth cost from Dh2,500 to Dh2,000, and eventually lowered the ticket price to Dh230." She admitted considering giving up due to the thankless nature of the task. "Many complained the tickets were too pricey and accused us of dishonesty, despite no profit," she recounted. "I later discovered a group of girls in our grade had a WhatsApp chat to badmouth us and discourage attendance."

Nonetheless, she persisted, and over 80 students attended on June 21. "It was intimate and enjoyable," she said. "Being voted 'Prom Queen' was unexpected but deeply appreciated."

For Dubai College student Ethan Mellor, this year's prom, his third, was as enjoyable as the previous ones. "I attended with friends from Dubai College and the Centre for Musical Arts," he said. "It was a delightful event to celebrate the end of my school life in Dubai." The 18-year-old enjoyed various aspects of the event. "We had student-organized awards and watched a graduation video created by students," he said. "The buffet offered a wide variety, and the atmosphere was enjoyable, celebrating with close friends and the broader school community."