Mountainside’s Take on Homecoming 2021

Homecoming+dance

Students dancing in the mosh pit during during Homecoming.

Haley Barnes, A & E Reporter

The annual homecoming dance has made its rounds this year as students recall the highlights of the night. It was the first dance of the year and it provided a golden opportunity to connect with peers from school after being separated for so long due to the pandemic. We interviewed several students and a few staff to get their opinions on different aspects of the event. This is what they thought. 

Covid safety-In 2021, Covid safety during events is a big priority, but students didn’t seem to care too much about anything in regards to keeping others safe. From multiple students, we were told that there were too many people crowded around the DJ, masks were off, it was hot inside the crowd (despite being outside), there was lots of pushing, and students even snuck friends from other schools in. Thankfully, the outside space allowed students to move away from the crowd and do their own thing in their own covid safe space. The organizers should not be discredited though, leadership and staff did their job to make the dance as safe as they possibly could. Students were asked to try their hardest to keep distance and to keep their masks on at all times. Even so, you can always depend on the students to bend the rules.

We decided to speak to Mr. Buckhalter, a chaperone, about his thoughts on Covid safety this year. He said that students were 100% responsible for counteracting safety measures by bringing students from other schools. He noted that no staff member could recognize all 1800 students at MHS. It was unpredictable that people would go so far as to create fake IDs to get into the dance, as confirmed by students and staff. 

Furthermore, after asking our activities director, Mr. Reinholt, if the dance was covid safe, he said that they took as many precautions as possible, including moving it outside, to make it safer. He acknowledged that students did get closer than the recommended distance though.

Overall, Mountainside as a community needs to keep their masks up and stay their distance to protect themselves and others. We are still going head-on against this global pandemic and we need to continue our covid safety protocols. Granted, a school dance calls for screaming teenagers within proximity, and event organizers did the most they could to prevent a possible spread. It is impossible to predict how the kids will behave, and at the end of the day, it is on students to protect the other students.

Pricing-The pricing of the tickets has become a topic of debate this year. The first week, tickets were $15, 2nd week was $20, and $25 at the door. 

One 9th grader says the pricing of tickets at the door was expensive, but it’s fair considering the previous opportunities to get tickets at cheaper prices. 

We felt there was nothing better to do than consult with Mr. Buckhalter again because of his experience as a business and marketing teacher. He wasn’t quite sure what to think. “$25 at the dance, that might’ve precluded a few students from going that wanted to go the day-of. … It’s kind of a common practice in business, you get incentives for buying stuff early, if you don’t take advantage of the incentive then you wind up paying a higher price.” Schools have to raise money one way or another. After over a year of students outside of school walls, we understand the incentive to raise more money to fund school necessities.

 One 12th-grade student brought up the idea to price it at $20 because it’s more affordable and only requires 1 bill, unlike $25. So following their suggestion, the pricing would consist of $10 the first week, $15 the second, and $20 at the door.

We had a word with Reinholt to ask him more about pricing, and he told us that the prices were to help the school plan ahead. “It encourages people to buy stuff upfront so that our lines are shorter, it aids with us planning for the dance, and it’s also in line with what other schools are doing.” 

Music- An issue that students have almost every year at homecoming is the music. This time, students were pretty satisfied. There were Lil Nas X songs, Drake songs, and throwbacks too, but students unanimously agreed that there could’ve been more music played from the music requests.

One of our leadership seniors estimates that only 30% of the music that students requested was played.

During some songs, people said they were standing around, waiting for it to be over. To hear the music you like, it’s important to take advantage of the student survey for music requests on the Mountainside Instagram account. Ultimately, it’s impossible to please everybody.

Finally, was the dance fun? Yeah! It’s not every day that you’re able to spend the night dancing and singing with your school friends. Students had their criticisms, as always, but everybody did their best to put their opinions aside to seize the night and come together as a community to have fun. 

Reinholt had a birds-eye view of the dance from upstairs and was ecstatic to see so many students enjoying themselves after the long year we’ve all had. He and the leadership committee put a lot of time and effort into planning, and it ended up being a success. Students were cheerful to have a social gathering with their school friends and the staff was happy to see the students back at school, hanging out, and having a good time.

 After all, homecoming is only what you make of it. And maybe next year we can avoid a surge in Covid cases!