Survey captures students’ mixed views on outdoor dance

For better or for worse, this year’s annual homecoming had quite a different setting. Not only was it set outdoors, but in a parking lot of all places. Of course, it didn’t seem that unusual to me given that this was my first homecoming as a sophomore.

With that being said, the upperclassmen had pretty mixed views about the whole event in a social media poll of 300 CG students. While many veterans appreciated having the dance outside, nearly half of them preferred to have it indoors. 

About 54 percent of kids prefer to have the dance outdoors – as long as it is not in the parking lot – which shows that the lot is not the most popular venue choice. Still, 20 percent of students preferred the traditional gym setting over the outside option. I was shocked by that statistic given that they had all dealt with the traumatizing odors and humidity from past dances in the gymnasium.

A really positive part of this poll was seeing how many people had fun at this year’s homecoming: seventy-three percent. That’s almost three-quarters of the attendees who could confidently say that they had a good time.

People, students and teachers alike, all enjoyed being in each other’s presence and I think that’s incredible. When was the last time that we could all be congregated like this for such an important night? 

The reason we haven’t had many of those opportunities is, of course, COVID-19 guidelines. As much as the world seems to be progressing against this virus, we cannot ignore the fact that we are still living in a pandemic. When students asked if they felt safe with the measures put in place for the dance, 57 percent said “yes,” 35 percent “felt safe enough,” and 8 percent said “no.”

While I’m pleased to hear that most students felt safe at the dance, that eight percent bothers me a little. I would definitely agree that spacing was an issue, but let’s be realistic, it’s nearly impossible to regulate or control how close people are at a dance. Especially at a dance held outside where everyone has lowered their guards.

The spacing of the dance was also a problem not because of Covid necessarily, but due to how awkwardly spaced out everything was. If you stood a mere ten feet from the crowd of students, it almost felt like you were completely separate from the dance.

Many students who took the survey suggested “limiting the amount of space” because of how awkward it felt. About 10 percent of students recommended using a tent for the dance like other high schools in District 155 did.

I, for one, am definitely for having a tent. It eliminates the weird spacing issue and appeals both to the people who want the dance inside and those who want it outside. I think having a tent would also encourage more decorating for the dance since you have something to decorate. Lights, fog/smoke machines, streamers, and other decor would be an awesome addition to the overall vibe of the dance.

The survey also revealed some complaints regarding the admission price for the dance. While $10 may not seem like a big deal to most people, many students were unsatisfied with what they paid for. There were no snacks or refreshments at the dance. The only thing we were offered was cups of water, and they eventually ran out of cups.

Evidently, people were very disappointed with the lack of everything at the dance. The setting, the decor, and the food was kind of a miss. Personally, I thought it would’ve been cool to have food trucks since there was so much empty space in that parking lot anyway.

I think one of the awesome parts of the dance was being able to submit song choices for the DJ to play. They obviously didn’t play anything too “raunchy,” but they put in a lot of effort to play as many song requests as possible.

The only thing that annoyed some people was the song choices themselves. Having one bad word or mature theme meant that the song wouldn’t be played. It upset students that the DJs/faculty wouldn’t let us listen to the songs we wanted.

People in the survey even complained that the school didn’t think we were mature enough to listen to the music of our choice. All in all, I don’t think that it was that big of a deal, because most of the songs they played were pretty current and likeable.

The overall mood of the dance was high energy due to our win at the homecoming game, so everyone in attendance seemed to be having a good time. The experience of attending homecoming was memorable to say the least.

I think it’s been a long time since the student body got to be part of something that was fun and exciting, and most importantly, something that brought all of us together.

Whether you stayed for half an hour or for the entire dance, I think most of us can agree that it felt good to get dressed up and attend an actual event. It’s been a long time since some of us had something to truly look forward to. 

I’m extremely grateful that we are in a place in this world where we can do things like this. Throwing dances, attending sporting events, and believe it or not, attending school. I think many people can relate to how unpleasant and frustrating last year was.

The one thing that I want to address is that we are all aware of how stressful and exhausting this year has been. It’s a new challenge to be fully back in school, but we are still adapting, and that’s okay.

It will take time and patience, but I know that eventually it will get easier and we will have learned a lot from what we’ve been through. I firmly believe that this dance represents the beginning of a new dawn. I have a strong feeling that our future will be filled with many more fun events like this. Here’s to hoping that feeling holds true.