Homecoming dance engages, entertains students


Matt Petres

Seniors Charlotte Henderson and Gretchen Matzke pose in the Sherry Lansing theater during the homecoming dance on Sept. 24.

Victoria Washington, Reporter

Fluorescent lights covered the dance floor, black cocktail tables were dotted with colorful pom poms and fruity candy and marshmallows were scattered everywhere. The Gordon Parks Arts Hall lobby and Sherry Lansing Theater had been transformed into a candyland in the culminating event of a lively spirit week. 

Themed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 450 students attended the homecoming dance on Sept. 24.

Leading up to the dance, students and faculty participated in spirit week with daily dress-up themes including Pajama Day, VSCO Day, Finance Bro Day and Grade Color Day. VSCO, and Finance Bro Days were selected through a student vote. 

Student Council led a Spirit Assembly on Sept 22. The school-wide event celebrated fall sports teams and encouraged competition between grades in games such as musical chairs, relay races and an arm wrestling competition.

Members of Student Council worked to develop the homecoming dance theme during their annual leadership retreat, and All-School Vice President Graham Robbins led the discussion.  

“We decided Willy Wonka would be the most interesting in terms of what we could do with decorating and advertising,” Graham said.

Junior Eliza Dearing appreciated the decorations and attention to detail to match the film.

“I really like the candy. I like the theme going on this year,” Eliza said. “I think so far this is a pretty cool theme, and I like how it matches the movie.”

Steven Sun also approved of this year’s theme.

“The theme is great. I think it’s actually really creative,” he said.

The movie-inspired theme allowed attendees to dress to the theme and be more creative with their outfits. The best part of the dance for Junior Kian Quinn-Calabrese was seeing people embrace the theme in their looks. 

 “The best part of the dance so far has been the people,” Kian said. “Seeing what they’re dressed in, it’s fun.” 

The theme selection provided an opportunity to re-incorporate raffle tickets into spirit week. Students who dressed according to the day’s theme could receive a ticket from faculty members, a chance to win a $25 gift card. One ticket was drawn for each grade. 

According to Graham, raffle tickets have been used in prior Spirit Weeks and this year’s Student Council wanted to use them to increase participation from both students and faculty.

Kate Jablonski won for the Class of 2025. Winning was exciting for her although she wasn’t present when her name was pulled. 

“I felt ecstatic and thrilled to have the gift card. I participated in all of the spirit days,” Kate said. “I usually participate anyway, but I put in more effort to get tickets.”

Sophomore Wendell He decided to participate in Finance Bro Day, though in previous years Wendell hasn’t been eager to participate in Spirit Week. 

“Last year I didn’t really [participate] but I have been consistently doing it this year mostly because I got bored, and the raffle tickets are an added bonus,” Wendell said.

According to Graham, community involvement is a main goal for the Cultural Union this school year. He believes spirit week makes for a more positive school environment throughout the rest of the academic year, and Student Council wants to incorporate community involvement in every aspect. 

Graham said, “I think it’s about the little things, like spirit assemblies, spirit days and tickets that get people involved.”