Twinkling lights offset the darkness of the sky on Saturday, May 21, the evening of the annual Junior Semi-Formal Dance.
The students, most of whom had been preparing outfits, hair, dates, and everything else for months, arrived at Old Rochester at around 6:30 pm. A line was formed in the courtyard, which was decorated with sparkling lights and a small fountain surrounded by beautiful plants.
The theme, Las Vegas, was embodied through the artful decorations created by a committee of parents in charge of sprucing up the courtyard and cafeteria for the dance. As the doors opened, students were greeted with a cafeteria straight out of Vegas itself – an Elvis cardboard cutout, sets of cards and a poker chips (all personalized with “ORR Junior Semi”) for every person, an abundance of large dice, and a chandelier made of ribbons of lights adorning the center of the ceiling. After everyone had found a table at which to sit, it was announced that food was ready.
On The Go catered the event, serving an abundance of delicious food, from chicken fingers and fries, to mashed potatoes, salad, and chicken-broccoli-ziti. After most of the students had finished eating, there was a general consensus to move the party to the dance floor.
The DJ, Michael Rock from Fun 107, accepted requests from anybody willing to give them, which led to an extremely diverse playlist. It included everything from 80s song Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners, to current Top 10 song Work by Rihanna, to classics that everybody knows, like Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice.
Throughout the night, groups of friends made their way to the back of the cafeteria, where a photo booth had been set up with props ranging from boas and cowboy hats, to crazy sunglasses and devil horns.
At 11:00 pm, the music slowed to a stop, signifying the end of the dance. Those who were attending the after-party held in the school’s gym grabbed their things and changed into comfortable clothing optimal for the two bouncy houses that stood inflated just waiting to be bounced on. A henna artist and a caricature artist were also present for any students who wished to participate.
A raffle was held, with most prizes being donated from local communities. The “big raffle” included items like a GoPro, a FitBit, and a school parking pass for next year.
Festivities also occurred in the auditorium right across the hall from the gym. A hypnotist put on a magical (and hilarious) show, and afterwards the auditorium became home to a movie, which doubled as a comfortable, quiet place to take a nap for many of the exhausted students.
The after-party came to a close at 5:00 am, and students grabbed their stuff and shuffled to their cars to, hopefully, sleep the day away.
All in all, the juniors who attended Semi (and its after-party) seemed to be very happy with the way it came together. The freedom to do what they wanted seemed to be the best part, as explained by Emily Newell: “I really liked that they let us be us and that they didn’t make us do any of the events.”
Lauren Valente felt similarly. “I loved the fact that we were trusted and the parents weren’t breathing down our necks all night.”
Students also appreciated the sheer amount of things to do at the sleepover. As Elise Parker said, “I liked that there were many different things you could do between the dance and the sleepover. It was cool that we got to do or try so many different things.”
Students felt that the way the dance itself was set up worked well.
“I liked the arrangement,” said Krishna Patel. “How there was a photo booth, and how there were people serving food there.” It made for a very smooth-flowing night.
At any dance, music choice is, arguably, the paramount factor in determining whether or not the dance was successful. One bad song can kill the excitement almost immediately. But for Semi, the students generally felt good about the way the music was selected, as Emma Cadieux said: “For the most part, music requests were listened to, and you could tell that mostly, the music was chosen by the students.”
All in all, the Junior Semi Formal was a smashing success, and the students who attended appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
By Sienna Wurl