[UPDATED] Senior class officers cancel Senior Variety Show


Grace Kim, Online Chief

[Updated 12/15]

The old-time tradition of the Senior Variety Show since 1974 has been cancelled this year.

Senior class President Maria Edwards and Senior Member-at-Large Maggie Cassidy have decided to close the curtains on the show for the class of 2012.  Joint discussions between senior class moderators Larry Hensley and Sue Greig, class of ’71, took place before the decision was made.

According to Hensley and Greig, the lack of senior availability and participation in the show spurred joint discussions between the senior class moderators and officers, which ultimately resulted in the formal decision to cancel the show.

According to Hensley, the practice schedule was revised three times in attempts to accommodate many seniors who had schedule conflicts.

“The pressures of kids having to be involved in all kinds of activities to get into colleges are pressures we didn’t have back then.  It was just a different time,” Greig said, referring back to the time when she was a student.

“We had a small group of people and then we were told by our moderators and Mrs. Ball that we couldn’t have a show of only fifteen people, and then after changing all of the practice times, people still weren’t showing up except for the core group of people we had.  We just couldn’t get more people to come,” Cassidy said.

“It’s just been a bad buildup of stuff.  The past few years, Variety Show people made fun of other people and when we were told that there would be no making fun of people in the show, people become uninterested in participating and we lacked the manpower to run the show.”

“Society has changed.  It evolves.  Things that would fly back in the day would not be politically correct today,” Hensley said. “The Variety Show became a public forum to ridicule, harass, and abuse others.  That can’t be something we support, and by following our mission statement, this is not something we want to do.”

According to Principal Madelyn Ball, the show is not cancelled for all subsequent classes, despite the announcement made by the senior class officers.

“For juniors, if they want to do a show, they can put together a proposal to the administration.  It [the Variety Show] can never exist again the way it’s been…anything that makes fun of somebody I will say ‘no’ to,” Ball said.

“They can call it [their major fundraiser show] a ‘Senior Variety Show,’ but I’d encourage them to come up with with something else…They’ll have to make that proposal early.  This year it was too little, too late.”

“Legally, no school can do skits that make fun of people.  That even goes for when I believe in the past students would ask teachers, ‘Can we do a skit about you?’  Legally, it’s irresponsible.  That puts tremendous restrictions on what the show can be.”

The senior class officers of the class of 2012 do have future plans in creating other fundraisers to lower the cost of senior prom tickets.

“We are trying to have a senior coffee house that probably would be held in the Brown Room or cafeteria, a more intimate setting where the definite skits that we had like Chris O’Neill’s Dr. Barker speech or my JC Update skit would be performed there,” Cassidy said.

“We’re going to sell wristbands that you can dress down for the three days for the exam week.  It’s probably going to cost $15 .  Also, we’re probably going to have another dining out night at Looney’s and Burger King,” Cassidy said.

Alumni discontent that stirred on the JC Facebook page was addressed through a formal letter written by the senior class officers.

“As I wrote in my letter to the alumni, I said that in our [my and Edward’s] hearts it would be a sad decision to make, but our minds said it would be the most logical one and it would be the best decision for us and JC,” Cassidy said.

“That’s what I’m most upset about, how the alumni are acting.  A lot of people are bashing our decision and no one knows the whole story behind Maria’s and my decision.  The Variety Show was my baby, essentially.  I spent so much time on the Variety Show, wrote a lot of skits, recruited a lot of people, organized it, and it’s sad to see that all of the work that me and Maria did not happen…I just wish that the alumni understood,” Cassidy said.  “We want Variety Show to be a good memory, we don’t want it to be something bad where people worry and fear about how JC will look with the Variety Show.

The cancellation of this year’s show provoked disappointment among some of the current seniors.

“It’s unfortunate that our class won’t have it [the Senior Variety Show],” senior Emily Ruff said.

In addition to the general class’s dismay, participants of the Show also experienced similar sentiments.

“I think that we had a lot of good material and that we could have made a really good show if people stopped being immature and realized that they can have a funny show without calling out or being directly mean to someone.  If they all got involved, they could have understood how great the show could have been and how important it was to raise money for prom,” former Variety Show participant senior Taylor Kline said.

As for juniors, though they have the possibility of a Variety Show, some feel that it has lost its original integrity.

“I feel like the fact that it’s [the Senior Variety Show] changed so much from tradition takes away some of the things we  were looking forward to.  It’s not variety show anymore and that’s disappointing,” junior Adriana Baker said.

A letter written by the senior class officers to address recent alumni discontent can be read here.

Grace Kim is the Online Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com