School dances are key student experiences

School dances are key student experiences

When I was younger and living in the U.S., I remember Homecoming week. Even in elementary and middle school, I knew about this important event for older students. There was a parade and a football game against our rival school, all leading up to the Homecoming dance.

I remember going to the mall with my sisters and helping them pick out dresses and shoes. What would the theme of the dance be? Did they have a date? It was the first real taste of high school for me. In Grade 8 I remember fantasizing about going to a dance with all my friends and how fun it would be, it would be like all the high school movies I watched. Then when I moved to ASL and found out there was no Homecoming week like the one I had expected, I was disappointed. There was no football game, so there was no Homecoming. Although the school has tried to replicate it with a basketball game, ultimately, that falls flat.

The American tradition of Homecoming is based on the football game and the celebration of alumni returning to their school to see how it has changed. The ASL Homecoming game was labelled as so, but featured none of the celebrations leading up to it. This year it was the week after returning to school after the winter break. It was not nearly enough to meet expectations. Even though there was not a fall dance, I still held out hope that there was a possible winter dance. Winter rolled by and Homecoming came and went and no dance. No Sadie Hawkins? Not even Cotillion? This year there was a winter formal for freshmen, but again, it does not compare to Homecoming where the entire school comes together. Dances brought unity to my old school in a way that doesn’t really happen at ASL right now. The school should do more to create a high school student body instead of one that is divided by grade level.

Bounce is the underclassman social event that is supposed to be a prom replacement. The gym filled with bouncy castles is not an experience to replace a quintessential aspect of American high school culture. I would much rather attend a dance with my friends than an event that felt hastily put together in the school gym. I feel that my high school experience has been invalidated thus far because I didn’t have a dance. Prom is supposed to be special because only upperclassman and their dates get to go, but it’s not special if it stands alone. There’s no other comparison to make and it feels weird to try. Having a semi-formal dance to compare prom to makes prom makes seem grander and more elaborate.

American high schools were defined by dances and ASL tries to replicate American culture with Homecoming celebrations and prom but it fails to accomplish this. Although we are an international school we have inherently American cultures and traditions. We should fully commit to the full American experience of dances rather than ASL’s current partial attempt.

Written by Staff writer Sara Short 

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