Homecoming Formal likely to be annual tradition

Lizzy Thomas

Last month’s Homecoming Formal was likely the first of many, prefect Sarah Winshel ’15 said.

“It was absolutely as successful if not much more so than we expected it to be,” Winshel said. “I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that it will, but I can say that there is no reason it wouldn’t become a long-standing tradition.”

High attendance at the Sept. 28 dance has gone a long way toward instituting Homecoming Formal as a permanent tradition, Director of Student Affairs Jordan Church said. A total of 635 students attended the dance, well above expected numbers.

“Our number that was kind of a mark of if it was successful was 500,” Church said.

By comparison, attendance was significantly higher than at last year’s Whiteout dance and, taking into account that only grades 10 through 12 were permitted at the event, similar to the typical turnout at Semiformal.

“There were hundreds of more people at this event than there were last year, which is super exciting because it was the equivalent number to Semiformal,” Winshel said. “That was our goal because we want to have something that can be as fun.”

In stark contrast to formal events of the past, the administration received no official complaints about misbehavior at Homecoming Formal after parties or in limos on the way to the event.  

“The 10-hour period post Homecoming Formal was blissfully uneventful,” Head of School Audrius Barzdukas said. “I didn’t get any phone calls, texts or emails.”

“I wish that all the students could know how much the prefects appreciated that and how much all their classmates appreciate that,” Winshel said. “Because that is what is going to make it a tradition in the future, that everyone could come together and be so awesome about that.”

Attendees also seemed to enjoy the dance held in Taper Gym, Barzdukas and Winshel said.

“The vibe during the event was of kids having fun. I think people had fun. It was a real high school homecoming dance in the gym that came off really well,” Barzdukas said.

“It was more like your classic dance and it was more Harvard-Westlake spirited [than in years past], obviously in perfect timing since it was the week before Homecoming,” Winshel said. “I think people more enjoyed the feel of it, since it had almost a clubby vibe.”

To achieve that ambience and transform Taper Gym into a place nearly unrecognizable from the site of basketball games, Prefect Council consulted WOW! Special Events.
The school had the idea of completely carpeting the gym’s hardwood floor with black turf.

“That was a great idea because if you can see the basketball court, then it’s one thing but if that’s all covered with the dance floor in the middle it adds so much,” Winshel said.

Another likely tradition was inaugurated during the weeklong Homecoming celebration.

The annual Homecoming pep rally showcased a relay race on an inflatable obstacle course between faculty and their children who also attend the Upper School.
The faculty parent-student race will probably be continued in coming years as well, Church said.

“There are enough faculty kids that will still be at the school to continue it,” Church said. “Plus the faculty need a chance to redeem themselves.”