Published Sept. 27, 2021
By RILEY PALSHAW
Adhering to the latest county guidelines, which require mask mandates for guests, Carmel High School’s annual homecoming dance will take place outdoors on campus Oct. 2, following the varsity football game against Gonzales.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, there has been a forced pivot to move the dance outside, in the CHS upper quad and alongside the theater, in order to mitigate spread, straying from the typical set up in the gym. With this outdoor venue, the school must now be cognizant of the neighborhood’s sound ordinance, which will require the dance, which will start at 7 p.m., to shut down by 10.
“Everybody is trying the best they can to represent the students’ interests and voice either their concerns or their wants,” says CHS activities coordinator Aubrey Powers, “and we’re trying to do that along with what we can actually do and what’s possible.”
Among these wants is the allowance of outside guest invitations for students from other schools.
“Guests don’t make the dances,” says junior Gianna Mangiapane, “but they do make them more fun, and it’s nice to meet people and have a variety of people to hang out with.”
In the past, guests have been allowed at dances so long as they fill out a guest permission slip, but with COVID-19 cases still prevalent on campus and in the county, CHS administrators are meeting with the leadership class to work out a solution to avoid putting CHS students at a greater risk. At an ASB meeting Sept. 15, possible suggestions included requiring negative COVID-19 tests for attending guests or limiting the number of guests allowed.
As of now, no outside guests will be allowed at the homecoming dance, but this is subject to change depending on how many CHS students buy presale tickets, which will become available on campus Monday. The school is prioritizing selling tickets for CHS students first, but there very well could be spots available for others.
“It’s completely dependent on how many sales we get for tickets from Carmel students first,” says the ASB dance commissioner, junior Ava Valdez. “If there are a lot of people from our school coming, then we’re probably not going to have a lot of guests.”
Although CHS students are pushing for outside guest invitations, they must also keep in mind the potential risks of allowing kids from other schools onto campus to mingle with large crowds of CHS students. Kids may just want a sense of normalcy, but COVID-19 cases are still popping up on CHS’ campus, so Powers urges students to think of what would happen to those cases if people from out of the CHS community attended the dance. She also recognizes that if this becomes one of the few dances on the peninsula that allows outside guests, the guest list could expand exponentially as COVID-19 cases rise locally.
“A lot of our guests end up being from private schools, and I don’t know where they are in terms of running dances,” says Powers. “If we end up being one of the only schools in town having a dance, there might be more of an inclination to jump in and come as a guest.”
Above all else, Leadership is hoping to replicate the traditional homecoming experience for the freshman and sophomore classes, who to this point have not attended any sort of high school dance, while also following guidelines to make this dance safe for all.
“There are two grades on campus that have never been to homecoming,” notes junior Mya Schnader, the ASB spirit commissioner, “so there’s a lot of expectations for us, and there’s also a lot of people that could be put in harm’s way. I don’t want that to happen.”
Although most underclassmen understand they aren’t getting the usual homecoming experience, many remain hopeful that the dance will be just as fun, even with the outdoor venue and mask requirements.
“I actually prefer the outside venue since indoor parties can get super hot and uncomfortable,” says freshman Eugene Tupino.
The setup may be untraditional, but the annual homecoming parade down Ocean Avenue is back this Friday, giving students the opportunity to walk with their class, fall sport or any participating clubs to show school spirit. There will also be a homecoming rally Friday at lunch to get students pumped up for the football game.
Between Friday’s festivities and the dance itself, the Leadership class hopes to bring some normalcy back to school events.