Semiformal homecoming dance proves popular at HBHS

On the night of Saturday, Sept. 24, Hollis Brookline High School’s annual homecoming dance looked much as it had in past years: lights strung around the room, a DJ pumping music from one end of the mini gym, and students of all four grade levels getting their groove on.

However, in comparing photos from previous years to 2016, one major difference is revealed: This year, everyone was dressed to the nines.

The long-standing tradition of homecoming was that sports teams were encouraged to go as a group in coordinated Halloween costumes. While this was fun for those who played sports, it left many kids not involved with athletics feeling as though they were in no position to attend.

Thanks to the Class of 2017, this tradition was uprooted in favor of making the dance a semiformal event.

"We made the decision at the end of last year," said Chris Aulbach, senior class treasurer.

He said that overall, attendance increased in comparison to previous events.

"Although it may not have been as popular with the upperclassmen, I believe we definitely saw an increase in the attendance of freshmen and sophomores," Aulbach said.

Regardless of the potential lack of popularity in the upper grades, homecoming was a major success.

As students arrived, they were greeted by a table of senior class officers and the event’s "bouncer" (senior Vivek Nithipalan, clad in all black and topped off with black shades). Once inside the mini gym, DJ Buckles (senior Nathan Buckley) kept the party going all night, spinning everyone’s favorite hit songs.

Attendees came together for group dances such as "Whip/Nae Nae" and "Cotton Eye Joe," even convincing beloved English teacher Michael Fox to join in on a "dab!"

Students were having so much fun that Buckles had to resort to playing classical music at the end of the night to force the remaining dancers to go home.

Many can agree that the switch to semiformal should become a new tradition at Hollis Brookline.

"I feel like with costumes, you really have to plan around everyone else, which makes it difficult," senior Davis Gagnon said. "With formal, it’s a lot easier for everyone and nicer to do. It’s a nice alternative."

"I’m not part of a sports team," sophomore Johanna Golden said, "and only the sports teams went last year," so she felt more included this year.

It is up to the incoming senior class to decide whether this new homecoming is going to be instated as tradition. If so, Hollis Brookline can expect many more successful fall dances in the coming years.

This column is written by Nicole Poitras, a senior at Hollis Brookline High School. She was among 51 high school journalists representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C., who attended the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference in Washington in June.