Rockhurst High School hosted its annual homecoming dance for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors for the 2017 school year on Saturday, October 7th. Rockhurst students, along with their dates, fill the gym, where the dance takes place. However, most just walk around for around half an hour, talk to friends and their friends’ dates, and are ready to leave only an hour into the three-hour dance. While the occasional dance-off may occur, hardly no one dances for the whole three hours. Students line up outside the doors, pleading to be let out early only an hour into the dance. Should Rockhurst High School even host a Homecoming dance?
This question was asked to 25 randomly chosen students from the Junior and Senior classes at Rockhurst High School. Out of the 25 interviewees, 22 said that Rockhurst shouldn’t host a dance. When approached with follow-up questions, the most common response was that the best part of Homecoming was the afterparty. If the students only care about the afterparty, should Rockhurst even waste the time and effort to host the dance?
The Homecoming dance requires a lot of hard work by the faculty and parents to organize. Parents volunteer to run the clothing check out, where students drop off their coats and other unwanted clothing items before entering the gymnasium and pick them back up on their way out. A large handful of the Rockhurst faculty and teachers attends as well, either chaperoning the dance or collecting tickets at the entrance. This obviously isn’t their ideal way to spend their Saturday night. The dance doesn’t just set itself up, either. The Rockhurst faculty is also tasked with preparing the gym, which includes hiring a DJ and cleaning it up afterward.
If the majority of Rockhurst students would rather not have the Homecoming dance and just go to an after party, then why have the dance in the first place? Not having the dance would save the school time, money, and effort. Plus, there are plenty of other dances available for Rockhurst students to attend, such as Homecoming dances from the surrounding schools, prom, junior ring, or Teresian.
While the majority of the Rockhurst student body would opt to not have the dance, the female student bodies at surrounding schools would opt otherwise. The same question asked to the 25 Rockhurst students was ask to 25 female students, and 16 out of the 25 female interviewees answered in favor of Rockhurst keeping the dance. When approached with follow up questions, the main reason for keeping the dance was that the girls liked to dress up and reunite with old friends they might see at the dance and might not have another chance to ever talk to them.
Rockhurst isn’t the only school in which the students’ main focus of Homecoming is the afterparty. Shawnee Mission East lets students enter and leave the dance whenever they wish. The dance lasts 3 hours as well, however, the dance is usually relatively empty only halfway through the dance, supporting the fact that students would rather just go to the dance for an hour, talk to friends, and then leave and go to an afterparty.
If Rockhurst adopted a similar “come and go” policy to that of Shawnee Mission East’s, many of the students would clear out of the dance only an hour into it. Some solutions that support keeping the dance and having a more positive student response could be to shorten the overall length of the dance, make the time couples can begin to leave earlier, or adopting the “come and go” policy. However, the easiest and most logical way to go about this problem would be to not have the dance in the first place, saving time, money, and effort.