Following the G period block of midterms week testing, you might expect to find students lounging on couches and binging Netflix. This year, however, many students will be swapping their sweatpants and slippers for dresses and collared shirts as they head to the Snow Ball Dance.
On Friday, January 25th, Oyster River High School’s second annual Snow Ball Dance will be held in the high school’s multipurpose room. The dance is the first of its kind since a decline in school dances since 2012, and may to inspire more to come. The semi-formal is collaboratively hosted by student governments of each class, serving as a class fundraiser and as an opportunity to destress and celebrate the end of midterms.
The dance is riding on last year’s success, which generated a revenue of over $1,000. “All around it was very positive. Kids liked it, and the teachers that were involved liked it and thought it was very successful. It was successful in a financial sense, and in a school atmosphere way as well,” says sophomore class advisor, Matt Pappas.
The positive reactions challenged harsh criticism the dance received last year in the early stages of advertising and pre-order ticket sales. “I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everyone was trying to make a decision about whether they were going to go or not. I had friends convincing me to go with them and friends telling me it would be lame,” comments Madison Hoppler (‘20), an attendee of the dance last year.
After a six year lull in dances, last year’s Snow Ball marked the first non-prom school dance since the decrease in dances following the 2012 year. “Dances were not dances. They were called ‘grinds’ and they were scarring for any chaperone that had to deal with them,” recalls David Hawley, a humanities teacher at ORHS. While dances like Sadie Hawkins and Fright Night served as huge class fundraisers, due to issues with sexualized dances such as grinding and inappropriate actions, Todd Allen, assistant superintendent of ORCSD, clarified that at no point were dances banned. He stated, “we made clear rules that we would not allow that kind of dancing to take place,” and thus, administration created a “face to face with space rule” in attempt to control the teens. The rule unfortunately turned off most students from the school event, who thought the rule was mood-dampening, and dances quickly disintegrated after the installation of this rule.
It would take four years of high schoolers to pass through Oyster River until the 2020 sophomore government would inspire the Snow Ball. “We felt that OR was lacking of dances. I didn’t want to have to wait until the spring of my junior year to go to a dance in high school. I thought it was something needed to make it a real high school experience,” said class of 2020 senator, Jackson Deely (‘20). The students brought the proposal to administration and were pleasantly surprised upon the dance’s approval. Principal Suzanne Filippone commented, “I knew a little about the history as to why dances stopped happening at the high school, but the kids wanted to do it and we wanted to give them an opportunity to do something together so we thought we’d give it a shot.”
According to Deely and Pappas, the preparation going into the event has been far easier than last year. “Last year, planning it was challenging because there was a lot of negative energy coming from the student body. Students didn’t think it would be fun, but then we ended up having a really good turnout and there’s a lot of good energy going into it this year which has helped a lot,” says Deely. A solid foundation from the prior year has aided in advertising and event coordination for this year’s upcoming dance.
Tickets are on presale during both lunches for $10 per person. The cost of tickets at the door will be $12. The third wheel special makes a comeback with the deal of 3 tickets for $24. The selection of a Snow King and Ice Queen is a new addition open to students of all grades. Those interested can make nominations at the time of ticket sale. Nate Sullivan will be returning as light designer, and the dance theme focuses blue, white and silver tones to create a winter chill atmosphere.
The dance serves as a way of bonding between the four classes. Allen comments, “I’m excited that dances are coming back into fold. Dances are for kids and I want it to be a good, fun, social experience.” Food and drink will be served, and good music and merriment can be enjoyed as you let your stress melt away. “It’s a fun time, and a good way to unwind coming off midterms and the semester. It’s a good time to let loose and have fun with friends,” says Deely.
Written by Grace Castonguay
Photos Credit of Haley Brown-Bloom