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The Homecoming Dance: Expectations vs. Reality

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From passionate dances in the rain in “High School Musical” to bustling swing- dancing in “Grease” and fun times with friends in “Glee,” movies and TV shows set extremely high expectations for what dances will be like. However, the dark school gym filled with sweaty high schoolers is not quite the picturesque scene often painted in the media. Excited freshman Jackson Vaughn shared his expectations.

   “I’m imagining people in tuxes and dresses dancing. I’m assuming people aren’t going to wear tuxes, but it’s just what I imagine,” Vaughn said. He then added, “It’s just whenever you see a highschool dance in movies, it’s just what happens, people dancing in suits, hanging out.”

   To anyone who’s been to a school dance, it’s easy to see that the dances aren’t this formal; however, junior leadership student Donovan Brown explained how he deals with the freshmen’s extravagant expectations.

   “So, who knows what kind of giant expectations anyone has — especially freshmen. For the most part, what they think about homecoming is something they’ve either seen in movies or TV shows, or from past students. Expectations are usually really high for homecoming, our biggest dance. We try to meet those expectations by incorporating the dance into other things. We always have the big home football game. In years past we had the float parade during the game; now we have it during lunch. But in order to make homecoming this big, extravagant ordeal that people get excited for, we build spirit weeks with the floats, letting every club build a float, letting all the creativity and ingenuity. And with the actual dance, we try to work in every aspect of the dance to make it enjoyable,” said Brown.

    Brown points out that the most important factor of the dance is enjoyment of the attendees. While some students may think this is due to the extravagance of the outfits or elaborate decorations, some believe it will just be a good time, such as freshman Camille Mantoani.

   “I think the dance will be fun. I’m obviously a little nervous based on the fact that there will be a lot of people, but not too much. I think homecoming will be one of the highlights of the school year. I have seen representations of high school dances in movies, but I don’t believe they have contributed to my expectations much. I think movies tend to exaggerate on those types of things, but I do believe homecoming will be a little similar to what is shown in movies. I think homecoming will be a little similar to what is shown in movies. I think homecoming will be different than showed in movies because there is a lot more humiliation and drama in them,” said Mantoani.

   Dances can become rather complicated and occasionally mirror the drama one sees in movies or TV shows. Junior Sam Fuller, however, explained that the drama doesn’t have too much impact on his experiences.

   “I asked someone last year, and then I wound up not going with anyone. There’s some drama. It’s just that some people want to go with certain people, and everyone has their mind set, but not everyone goes with somebody, so not everyone gets to go with who they want. So there’s a bit of drama when it comes to that. But it’s nothing too major, kind of just normal high school stuff,” said Fuller.

   Despite the few expected hiccups once in awhile, homecoming in its entirety, from being asked to the dance, to preparing for and attending the dance, is often enjoyable for students. Senior Shelby Althuizen shared her memorable experiences about her first year attending homecoming.

   “Getting asked to the dance was the most special moment in my life because I have never felt more valued than that moment before the proposal. I invited some friends to come over to get ready, and we blasted music and applied every cosmetic that any of our makeup bags carried; however, it was all in moderation. The dance was nothing that I had ever experienced and definitely topped my experiences at the Kenilworth Jr. High dances. At the dance I felt included and more in my element than I had before. I was able to make lasting connections with everyone that had just been acquaintances before. Dances are definitely a good way to be introduced to a high school environment,” said Althuizen.

    The confidence and positive memories Althuizen got out of her freshman year homecoming is exactly what the Brown states what the leadship class’s goal is for the dance.

    “Homecoming is one of the most fun times kids have, if they really get into it, and if they participate in the spirit week, and they go to the game, and watch the float parade, and then it all leads up to the actual dance, it’s like the cherry on top, and it just adds to the entire experience,” said Brown.

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The Homecoming Dance: Expectations vs. Reality