By Lara Sokoloff
What was “semiformal?” Semiformal was intended to be an opportunity for members of the Harvard-Westlake community to come together and enjoy themselves for a night in January. However, over the years, semiformal has morphed into something completely different.
Due to the drama and the dangers that preceded and followed the school function, it was imperative that the school cancel the event and work to create a wholly new and novel one.
From scavenger hunts to bouquets to embellished desserts, students’ originality reached new heights during the month of January, and it was not dedicated to studying for their midterms. However, elements of this undermined girls’ and boys’ self-confidence. Throughout the month of January, some girls reached new levels of desperation as they waited for boys to ask them. Boys, on the other hand, although not nearly as pressured, faced stresses of their own. Asking the girls, and the possibility of rejection, likewise led to insecurity and discomfort with the entire process. Coupled with the stresses of midterms, semiformal added an unrestrained amount of drama to an already stressful time. However, none of this drama was intended to accompany semiformal.
Semiformal has also become a money pit. Boys who take dates feel obligated to pay for the girls’ tickets and limo, doubling what they have to pay. Many girls feel the need to buy new dresses and get their hair, makeup and nails done, a likewise expensive process.
Lastly, semiformal has become far more about the afterparty than the actual semiformal. Students saw semiformal as an opportunity to “let loose,” not thinking about the consequences of their decisions. The whole schedule of the night was flawed and destined to fail. Although the administration might want to deny it, it can almost be guaranteed that some part of the student body would consume alcohol on the evening of semiformal. However, most students don’t eat before they drink and drink large amounts of alcohol too quickly, which exacerbates the situation. When semiformal was originally planned, it was clearly not foreseen that students would indulge to such an extent and in such an irresponsible manner.
The true purpose of semiformal has been lost over the years. It is no longer about coming together as a community but about elaborate and ostentatious ways to ask your date, unnecessary and excessive spending and students ignoring the consequences of their actions. Thus, it was not only logical, but entirely necessary that the school cancel semiformal and replace it with an entirely new event. It is time that the community look at the true purpose of semiformal and design an event where the innate qualities are preserved.