In the past three years CHS has downgraded from a Winter Ball to a more casual winter dance, and now to the entire elimination of any winter dance event, causing students to question the shift in tradition and some to even petition for what they see as the right to get “footloose.”
Longtime activities coordinator Leigh Cambra explains that the winter dance has been eliminated from this year’s schedule for various reasons, primarily the historical lack of student attendance, which is crucial to raising revenue for ASB.
“[The] last few years the attendance has been consistent: about 100 at the first dance, 325 at the Homecoming dance, 100 at the winter dance,” Cambra explains. ASB also decided to eliminate this year’s first dance due to low attendance.
The message is clear: There are not enough students attending some dances.
“Overall, we are a small school, so we need a larger portion of our student body to attend events to make them feel ‘full,’” Cambra says. Evidently, insufficient dance attendance is causing ASB to lose money, so these dances are simply being eliminated.
Some students tell a different story, though. Despite some discontent, students appear to be interested in including some form of an additional dance this school year.
Junior Spencer Hubbard and senior Naomi Takaoka have sparked student demand for an additional event by creating an already popular petition advocating for the reintroduction of a winter-season dance.
“We received over 200 signatures from students who want either a Sadie Hawkins or a Winter Ball,” Takaoka notes.
As Takaoka reveals, the petition was ASB’s idea to investigate potential student interest in another dance. The senior also indicates that student support has been sufficient enough to put a prospective dance in the early stages of planning.
Senior and ASB president Alyssa Zurek explains that a dance is made by its attendants. She also notes her personal reason for attending them.
“I…attend the dances because it’s part of the high school experience!” Zurek exclaims. “I don’t want to look back on high school and regret not going.”
There are mixed emotions, however, about dances, particularly among the freshman class. Freshman Julianna Smith remarks that her Homecoming experience proved better than that of her middle school dances. Destiny Curtis, on the other hand, fondly remembers middle school dances, expressing her wishes that Carmel High School dances would feature a wider variety of activities.
Upperclassmen seem to agree with this latter notion, and juniors William Lund and Paxton Ataide advocate for the feature of a much-beloved ping-pong table.
But space is another issue.
“The gym is often not available, causing us to do a dance off-site, thus increasing the expenses,” Cambra explains.
In many respects, a winter dance seems infeasible. But perhaps students have more say in the matter than they believe they do.
Zurek stresses that student support is needed to initiate change. “The key for a winter dance is student voice,” she says. “If people want a winter dance, they need to speak up.”