Taylor SanFilippo

More stories from Taylor SanFilippo

December 19, 2022

PC: Amy Moore

Journalism advisor, Mrs. Amy Moore (far right), enjoys her night with friends during the 1989 Drill Team Dance.

Winter Formal is coming, and with growing unpopularity surrounding PHS’ formal dances, some are wondering how these dances have fallen from a focal point of the Powell High School community to an afterthought in the minds of the student body.

Science teacher Mrs. Wendy Smith had a perspective to offer in respect to the amount of dances that PHS hosts.

“There’s been a huge decrease,” Mrs. Smith said. “We used to have a dance about every month and the clubs would [organize] the dances. That’s how they would make their money and fundraise for their activities.”

The majority of these dances in the past were informal. While informal dances are still prevalent today, they are much smaller in quantity. On average, PHS hosts two informal dances annually.

“In my sophomore year,” Emma Bucher, a 2022 PHS graduate, said. “There was an informal dance for the boys’ basketball team called Snowcoming.”

During the 2021-2022 school year, PHS put on a Make-A-Wish spirit week (much like Homecoming) followed by a dance that Friday night. The money raised throughout the week was donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I could tell [Student Council members] wanted [the dances] to be good, but administrators never allowed them to fully follow through with their big plans.”

— Emma Bucher

The number of large formal dances has stayed the same, but there has been a shift in which dance administration found important.

“We had two big dances,” La’Nae Feller, a member of the PHS class of 1990, said. “[The] Homecoming [Dance] for the Homecoming football game… Then we had prom in the early spring.”

Mrs. Feller made note of the variety of music, which, in her opinion, was the most important factor of the entire event.

“There was a good mix of music,” Mrs. Feller said. “Good songs to dance slow to and then some you could really move to. It was usually an event you wanted to stay at until the end.”

However, PHS students have a different attitude towards today’s dances.

“The music that our faculty plays seems to be more what they think good music is,” junior Adam Flores said. “It sometimes feels like they don’t seem to care about what we think is good music.”

Student Council members even provide playlists filled with non-explicit, student-chosen songs, but find that many of the chosen songs aren’t used during the dance. This has been found, in general consensus, to reduce the amount of satisfaction students have had with recent dances. 

In addition to the music, there are students who feel that the planning of the events is their downfall.

“I could tell [Student Council members] wanted [the dances] to be good,” Bucher said. “But administrators never allowed them to fully follow through with their big plans. [Their plans] most often fell through; whether it be in decorations, or themes. The Snowcoming Dance wasn’t even advertised until the week of.”

While the school dances may not be receiving much praise, students and alumni remain hopeful that PHS dances will soon return to their former glory.

“I hope these dances are a lot better this year,” Mrs. Feller said. “It sucked hearing from my son and his friends how disappointing prom and the other dances were last year.”