Back to School Dance brings memories from the past


Patriot File Photo

Students enjoy the Back to School Dance last year with their friends in the cafeteria as they celebrate the start of the new school year. This year, the dance took place on Sept. 9. and has changed over the decades in both size and attire.

Correction: The earlier version of this story stated that Teresa Pleiss was class of ’97. Her actual graduating class was 2004.

As the clock strikes seven, the music begins. The Back to School Dance has officially started. Groups of friends arrive in their wild costumes, pouring into the cafeteria to celebrate the start of the school year.

The dance, which was held on Sept. 9, was small, yet full of excitement and strange outfits. It  has been a part of the school for many decades, but has changed over the years in regard to costumes, size, and popularity.

“I don’t remember it being [costume oriented] at all,” Director of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations Susan Roarty, class of ‘95, said. “I remember people coming in their cute outfits and bringing people from different schools.”

It turns out the craziness of the current Back to School Dance with costumes didn’t always exist. People wore normal outfits and didn’t coordinate to a theme.

However, this year the dance was filled with costumes, which became a tradition in the 2000s, according to SGA Moderator Rodney Johnson. “Since I can remember, it’s usually the senior girls [that come in costume]. One year, we had seven girls that came in dressed like the Justice League,” Johnson said. With no set theme, there is always the possibility for any costume to arise.

The costumes this year varied, ranging from fairies to zombies. “I dressed up as a fairy, which was my friend group’s idea. We just thought it would be cute,” senior Laura Amrhein said. “I think [dressing in costumes] adds something fun to the dance. It gives the students a chance to express themselves.”

Another classmate agreed with Amrhein’s view on the costume attire. “I love that we get to dress up. It reminds me of spirit week,” senior Caitlyn Trent said.

While the dance has seen a change in attire, it has also seen a change in size. “My most memorable year was my freshman year, because it was my first year going. It was in the cafeteria. We got in trouble because there were too many people in there, and the wax floor actually melted off,” math teacher Teresa Pleiss, class of ‘04, said. She said that due to size they had to move the dance to the Upper Gym for the next year.

This year, on the other hand, the dance was on the smaller side. It took place in the cafeteria, as it has for the past couple of years, which goes to show that it is not equivalent to other dances such as Homecoming. However, the Back to School Dance is still regarded as being, “a fun time to reduce stress with your friends and enjoy the new year,” Trent said.

In regard to popularity, Pleiss mentioned that it was a big deal. “It was the most popular dance at school. It was the kickoff. That was the first whole-school dance that everyone went to,” she said.

Recently the Back to School Dance hasn’t been the most popular dance, but students still enjoy it. “I would say the dance is definitely small compared to other dances such as Homecoming, Ring, or Prom. However, it is a fun night to dress up with your friends. I definitely think more people should attend,” Trent said.

The dance, despite its changes throughout the decades, is always filled with students who are ready to have fun and celebrate the new year. “It was fun to me! The music was fun, and there were a lot of people this year,” sophomore Cameron Byres said.

Olivia Collins is a Community Editor for The Patriot and