It has been almost five years since SAU16 and Exeter High School banned dances after a disastrous homecoming dance in September of 2015. The decision to ban dances came from former superintendent, Micheal Morgan, and former principal, Mr. Tremblay. In 2015, Morgan said to Seacoast Online that, “We’ve been involved with the kids in trying to solve this problem for years.” He said, “The whole idea was trying to do something that would be prudent.” Prudent for sure.
Since 2015, anticipation from the student body has continued to grow, with new classes coming into EHS who hoped to one day experience a more informal dance different from prom. After the homecoming block party, which was a huge success, the student body had much more hope for a dance. But with almost two months since the block party and no solidified word of a dance in our future, the topic seemed to have faded.
However, at a late October Student Senate meeting, members were notified that—after extensive parent input—the dance process could be discussed among the class representatives.
After deliberation and setting some ground rules, the students and administration have come to an agreement allowing dances to be held. Mr. Monahan worked extensively holding meetings and talking with the community before giving the green light. Classes must go to him with a thorough plan of their dance before they can start putting their ideas into action.
With such anticipation of a school dance all classes are excited to begin planning. “Dances are a great way to socialize with your classmates and have a ton of fun,” sophomore class president, Jamie O’Keefe, told us. He continued saying, “I think most of us felt deprived of that aspect of high school, so these are some great improvements!” Senior class president, Sawyer Rogers, echoed that message saying, “The hope is that dances will bring classes together,” adding that he hopes they will, “encourage people to reach out and meet others outside of their own friend group.”
Both the Sophomore and Senior Classes have yet to announce dates for their dances, but class officers are in the planning stages. The Freshman Class has yet to confirm planning a dance, but seemed as though they were also considering the idea of having a dance. The Junior Class was the first to announce their dance to the whole school, holding their dance on January 17 at 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Class president, Sara Kolli, commented on the announcement saying, “[Dances] are a feasible way for us to gain revenue for our class and our senior dues in addition to proms!” Sara added that, “Dances are ingrained in American culture and they are an important part of growing up, so it’s a win-win!” The junior dance will have a winter wonderland theme and it will be held on Friday after midterms, helping students to de-stress with their peers. When asked, the Junior Class seemed somewhat excited for the confirmed dance—especially after the various rumors of a possible dance were spread earlier in the year. Some of them said, “It’s a great social event,” and “After so many years, it’s fun to have a dance again and it’s nice to feel that adults are starting to trust us a little more.”
While there are a lot of people excited, with change comes some mixed opinions. Some students voiced their concerns citing that holding a dance the same year as prom, and in such close proximity, might be too much. Some also felt the money spent on the dance should go towards prom.
The junior dance is the very first dance at EHS since the homecoming dance in 2015 that ended it all. This means that current classes have never seen a dance outside of prom, so the idea of dances are foreign to many students. All eyes will be on the Junior Class when January 17 comes around.