High School is often referred to as “the time of your life”; a time to make memories you’ll never forget. Some iconic high school moments are school dances, football games and pep assemblies. For Olathe North students, however, memories of school dances can be scarce: Olathe North only has two dances a year, Homecoming and Prom. For underclassmen it’s even worse, as they cannot even go to prom unless asked by an upperclassmen.
When you ask your parents what their favorite memory from high school is, there’s a good chance they will describe a high school dance, where they might’ve had their first kiss or where they met their high school sweetheart. These memories that help shape your high school experience but are becoming less common as the years go by, due to the popularity of iconic high school dances being on the decline.
Olathe South has a Homecoming, Winter Formal, and prom. Olathe Northwest has Homecoming, Prom and WPA.Olathe East has WPA, Prom, and Homecoming. Lastly, Olathe West has Homecoming, Winter Formal, and prom .WPA, which stands for Women Pay All, is a dance where the girls ask guys to the dance, rather than the traditional “Guys ask Girls” method. WPA, along with a Winter Formal, and a Spring Formal are all three dances North doesn’t have. Although not all Olathe Schools have all three of these dances, North has the least amount of dances compared with all other Olathe schools; why?
When asked why North lacks so many dances, Principal Jason Herman stated, “I have not had a club or activity group step up to say we want to sponsor it because ultimately what is comes down to is the overhead of what your going to pay and how much money you will make on the tickets.” Herman continued to say that he is open to a WPA or Winter Formal, he just wants student leadership to organize the dances.
Olathe North Student Council is responsible for organizing Homecoming and Prom, dedicating hours of their time to decorate the school and to organize the costs of Homecoming. Robyn Eick, Olathe North FACS teacher and a sponsor of Student Council, was asked why North has no WPA or Winter Formal. She stated that there is simply a lack of interest to throw a WPA or winter formal. “Our senior attendance to Homecoming is less than 10%,this mainly because of the lack of exclusivity for upperclassmen.” Prom is much more popular among upperclassmen because its more catering towards seniors and is seen as much more iconic and fun than Homecoming.
Eick continued to explain the costs of throwing a dance, adding that throwing a dance is a lot more work, and a lot more money, than one may think. According to Eick, the average High school dance, with decorations, a DJ, snacks and a photo booth costs around $1500. Because of this, figuring out ticket prices so that all money can be remade, can be complicated. Any clubs or organizations wanting to throw a dance must step up to the plate and show commitment.
Attendance is obviously a huge concern for dance organizers. The Olathe North Chronicle created a Google Forms asking the Olathe North student body if they would attend a WPA or Winter Formal, and the results were encouraging. Out of a sample size of around 100 students, over 97% stated they would attend a WPA or Winter Formal. Overall, the idea that the Olathe North administrators are against the idea of a WPA or Winter Formal is a complete misconception. All that is need to throw is a successful dance is an open minded student body and a group of students willing to put in the work to pull off a successful dance.