The fall of Formal

Sofie Kennedy and Clare Kennedy

This year, ETHS will not host a Freshman/Sophomore Formal dance.

“No decision ever has to be permanent. If there is an overwhelming sense or desire from the student body to make something happen, then it’s our job to make sure that happens. However, we kind of don’t get that,” Director of Student Activities Nichole Boyd says.

In previous years, Formal has been an exclusively freshmen and sophomore event. Eligible students were able to purchase tickets in the weeks leading up to the dance. Most students dressed in formal attire and arrived with dates or friends. With ETHS’ traditionally casual homecoming dance, Formal was an underclassman’s only chance to experience a traditional high school dance until their senior prom.

“I think ETHS should definitely have a frosh/soph Formal. I personally had so much fun at both of the formal dances I attended, and everyone deserves a chance to go and experience a high school dance,” junior Megan Mulvihill says. “I feel like ETHS has kind of taken the fun away from high school by not having a ‘normal’ Homecoming or Formal dance anymore.”

While some students claim to want Formal to happen, Boyd reports to have seen little interest by students to attend in previous years.

“Typically only a fourth of eligible students attend [Formal], and there is very little representation from the sophomore class,” Boyd says. “There is also a tendency for lots of students to leave pretty early on in the evening as well as plan other personal events on the same night that compete with the hosting of the dance.”

Low attendance along with a lack of diversity among attendees are some of the main reasons Formal has been canceled this year. Even so, some affected students have strong feelings about this cancelation.  

“I think [canceling Formal] is very unfair, because going to dances is a part of the high school experience. When our homecoming is already casual with no dates, it is unfair to make us wait until senior year to have a dance,” freshman Ella Greenberg Winnick says.

Some students that experienced Formal have shown interest in replacing it with a dance later on in their high school careers.

“[Formal] felt kinda like a Bar Mitzvah for a kid I didn’t know too well,” junior Will Chehab says. “Personally, I think we should replace Formal with a junior dance, knowing it’d be more meaningful. Freshman dances are awkward for a lot of people, but by junior year everyone kind of knows who they are.”

Boyd encourages students to speak up about their wants to their class board. Currently, the freshmen and sophomores are in need of a new student council sponsor. Boyd has not met with potential sponsors yet, but students are always welcome to communicate with Student Activities about their desires as well. Additionally, Boyd reports that no students have spoken with her about the cancellation this year.

“Personally, I am a bit sad about not having a formal, because it  is something I was looking forward to. Although I would enjoy a formal and wish we had one, I probably won’t do anything about it, because I don’t think it’s that serious,” frehsman Daisy Winter says.

However, some students that experienced Formal feel it is important that the underclassmen get the same experience.

“It’s just important that Formal happens. I wouldn’t attend formal because I’m a junior, but if they need help pulling it together, I would definitely be willing to contribute,” Mulvihill says.  

Even with student interest, planning dances takes a lot more work than students are aware of.

“For example, various junior classes over the years wanted to bring back the junior dance, but weren’t successful in reaching certain benchmarks that X number of students would attend,” Boyd says. “Things don’t tend to get past brainstorming.”

Nevertheless, Boyd encourages students to bring suggestions about how to make the high school experience better to the Student Activities office, located in the HUB.