Traditionally, GDS homecoming dances have been held in the Black Box with loud music, flashing lights and crowds of people. This year, homecoming was a little bit different. Students listened to synchronized music on glowing headphones and danced in the lower/middle school garage for the school’s silent disco.
At 9 p.m. on Sept. 25, the Spirit Committee held the first homecoming dance since the fall of 2019. Assistant Principal for School Life Quinn Killy said that this year 325 tickets were sold, which is more than in past years. However, he guessed not everyone who bought a ticket attended this year’s dance because GDS students were not allowed to bring guests from outside of school.
“Considering the restrictions that we had and the limitations, [homecoming] was pretty good,” Killy said. “I think people who came had a really good time for like 45 minutes to an hour.”
Junior Nora Smulson, a co-head of Spirit Committee, agreed.
“I think it was super successful,” Smulson said. “The feedback that I’ve had was expectations were pretty low for a lot of people because they were like, ‘it’s in the garage, it’s silent disco, it’s glow in the dark: it’s gonna suck,’ and then, everyone said that it was pretty great.”
Sophomore Max Boughner had never been to homecoming before and wasn’t sure what to expect. He noticed that people were leaving early from the dance.
“It just gets kind of boring listening to music on these really bad headphones,” he said. “You weren’t allowed back in. If you left, you were done.”
Planning for homecoming started the week of Sept. 13, and Smulson, along with her co-head, senior Ethan Cohen, led the process with the help of Killy. Smulson said they had four meetings with him to discuss potential themes and the practical aspects of homecoming, such as where it was going to be held and what the decorations should be like.
Originally, she and Cohen had wanted to do a wild west theme, but the request was denied by the administration. Smulson said she and Cohen also wanted to do a skiing theme, but that they were told no by Killy because the sport is associated with privilege.
“Skiing is not something that a lot of people do or is accessible to everybody,” Killy said.
Boughner said he wished the school had done a better job communicating to students about what homecoming was going to be like, specifically about the silent disco. He thought people left early because they didn’t know what to expect going in.
“It’s inevitable that everyone’s going to leave early,” said Smulson, who admitted she didn’t stay until the end. “A lot of the fun at homecoming is the afterparties.”
Senior Elias Rodriguez, who attended both his freshman and sophomore year homecomings, thought that this year’s homecoming was better.
“I genuinely thought it was more fun,” Rodriguez said. “I liked it being outside because usually it gets so hot in the black box.”
While Rodriguez did enjoy this year’s dance, he didn’t love how the dance was only in one corner of the garage.
“I was so confused as to why it was so contained to one space, which felt weird,” Rodriguez said. “It seems like it’s probably in the best interest of fun and distancing for it to be a little more spread out.”
Although the new format received mixed reviews from students, Smulson considered it a success. “Hopefully next year’s homecoming will be normal again, but I think for all the things we had to deal with, it was successful for sure,” Smulson said.
CLARIFICATION (Oct. 20 at 6:25 p.m.): This article has been clarified to reflect that Smulson paraphrased Killy’s reaction to the proposed skiing homecoming theme.