Semi-Formal: All the information that none of us have


Credit: WSPN Staff

The Class of 2022 celebrates their semi-formal, held at the Weston Golf Club. The Class of 2022 semi-formal was the last school dance hosted for Wayland students since the pandemic hit. The current junior class was not able to have a semi-formal last year and is in the process of planning its dance for this year despite a series of setbacks. “If we do have it at the high school, it’s not your ‘typical’ semi-formal,” Junior Class Vice President Samantha Tyska said. “I hope that our grade reacts to that and doesn’t get angry, [but are] more so appreciative of the idea that we’re able to hold an event for our class.”

The sophomore and junior semi-formals have been the subject of the month for many students. Even though the rumored dates of both the sophomore and junior semi-formal are a mere month away, emails regarding any general information about the much anticipated dance are scarce.

Each class’s executive board is responsible for fundraising, planning and releasing information about its dance. Neither the sophomore or junior e-boards have released information about their respective dances since the school year began, leaving many students with questions.

With all the uncertainty surrounding the actual details of the events, many sophomore and junior students have a limited idea of what’s going to happen. In a poll sent out on Friday, Sept. 17, of the 78 sophomore students and 27 juniors polled, 28% and 11%, respectfully, did not know any information regarding their dance.

Students were kept in the dark for a short amount of time, as information about the semi-formal spread amongst the grades recently by word of mouth. The majority of students who had heard information about the dance did not get it from their classes’ e-board, who is responsible for planning dances, but from fellow classmates. Data from the poll shows that 60% of sophomores heard about semi-formal from a friend, and 67% of juniors heard about semi-formal from fellow classmates.

Last year, COVID-19 robbed this year’s junior class of their semi-formal. The administration and junior class e-board pushed the dance to this fall, leading to the juniors having to host a dance they’ve never thrown before.

On Thursday, Sept. 23, the junior class e-board met for the first time since their election last spring to discuss plans for the upcoming dance. The junior class adviser declined WSPN’s request to sit in on the meeting.

“We’re aiming for the 16th [of Oct.], and then if not, we’re keeping our initial Nov. 6 date,” Junior Class Vice-President Samantha Tyska said.

Their semi-formal is expected to be held at Wayland High School on one of these two dates due to COVID-19 restrictions and approval deadlines for outside venues. Tyska said that the earlier date of Saturday, Oct. 16 would allow for warmer weather at the juniors’ semi-formal.

Junior class e-board and student council members have been scrambling to determine general information about the upcoming dance.

Originally, the junior class booked the Wedgewood Pines Country Club as their venue, but they switched to having it at WHS due to administrative approvals that would not come on time. A benefit of this, however, is a lowered ticket price.

“Since we voted to not have [the semi-formal] at Wedgewood, an actual venue, the ticket prices can hopefully be a little bit cheaper,” Tyska said. “We were aiming for around $30-40 for Wedgewood, so around there or lower.”

These ticket costs are not confirmed, as the junior class student body is still uncertain about many factors of the upcoming dance. The Class of 2023’s semi-formal is hoped to be an event that brings the junior class back together, as it is their first class event since eighth grade.

“If we do have it at the high school, it’s not your ‘typical’ semi-formal,” Tyska said. “I hope that our grade reacts to that and doesn’t get angry, [but are] more so appreciative of the idea that we’re able to hold an event for our class.”

The sophomore class is similarly struggling to pin down the logistics of their semi-formal.

“Right now, we have a date of Saturday, Oct. 23, assuming that we can do everything we want to do,” Sophomore Class President Andrew Medeiros said.

Hesitant to reveal more information concerning semi-formal at the time of the interview, Medeiros cited that all the information he had is subject to change.

Given that this is the sophomore class’s first dance in their high school career, Medeiros gave some planned highlights for the dance, whenever it happens.

“We’re getting a DJ,” Medeiros said. “We’re looking to get a photo booth as well. Before semi, I plan on hosting [an] open invitation to anyone in the grade that wants to come before and take pictures on my lawn… It’s just going to be a really nice time.”

The venue for the scheduled Oct. 23 dance still has not been booked. The e-board presented Stow Acres Country Club as a potential venue to administration, but the administration vetoed the suggestion.

“We were told that 160 people in a confined space where there’s eating – so masks will be off – and people dancing [closely, wouldn’t] be that safe,” Medeiros said.

Part of the reason that plans have been so up in the air is because of the changing guidelines from the administration. With the Delta variant and an increase in COVID-19 cases, administrators and the student body have been scrambling to figure out what this means in terms of school events.

“Unfortunately, due to continued concerns about COVID-19, we are postponing indoor dances for the time being,” WHS Principal Allyson Mizoguchi said. “Other districts are doing the same thing. Exactly when we will be able to hold dances is uncertain right now, as the timeline depends on a review of many factors.”

Another concern about the semi-formal has been the rules surrounding masks and social distancing.

“We are not sure yet whether students will have to wear masks, adhere to social distancing protocols, show proof of vaccination, fill out a health attestation form [and more],” Mizoguchi said. “These are possibilities that I imagine we will consider when it becomes possible to hold a large indoor event. Once indoor dances are allowed to proceed, I imagine students will have to wear masks. However, that is my best guess at the moment, and we will need to wait for specific guidance.”

Medeiros voiced his disappointment with news of a location change for the semi-formal, as both he and sophomore class Vice President Giovanni Sebastianelli had liked the original location, Stow Acres. Nonetheless, the student body immediately started working towards finding another venue once the word of the outdoor-only mandate came out.

“We have been shifting to look at other options, and we have found a couple of [locations] that we think could be real possibilities, and we’re really zoning in on getting a date,” Medeiros said. “Obviously, with finding a new place much closer to the date, it’s harder [to keep the date], so we might have to move [the date] a couple days before [Oct. 23] or a couple days after that, but our goal is to keep it around the same general date.”

Medeiros said that if the sophomore e-board is unable to secure a venue, the outdoor tents at the high school are an option.

As the tentative dates for semi-formal loom closer, information on the cost of tickets is a hot topic of discussion.

Because of the cost of the venue, along with features like the DJ, photo booths and catering, the semi-formal is an expensive event. Class of 2024 Treasurer Nora Edouarzin gave her input not the price of the event.

“It will be around $6,000 [or] $7,000 to put on,” Edouarzin said. “[We’re hoping to] keep the [ticket cost] around $35 or under.”

Semi-formal is paid for by class fundraising and the cost of tickets. To fundraise for the semi-formal, sophomore students sold Krispy Kreme donuts at $10 per box on Saturday, Sept. 25. Sebastianelli said the sophomore e-board had great results from the fundraiser, and that he was confident that they would sell out.

As of Saturday, Sept. 25, the sophomore class has $1,100 from their freshman year.

Medeiros said he was confident that with the Krispy Kreme fundraiser and the cost of tickets, the class will reach the amount of money needed to throw the semi-formal.

With all the shifting information, Medeiros confirmed that the semi-formal kick-off party is definite. The party will still be happening outside an hour or two before the semi-formal begins, with opportunities to take pictures by professional photographers.

“Whenever this event is able to happen, [they] can expect a very fun, elegant event that is designed to bring the entire class together,” Mizoguchi said.

Finally, Mizoguchi hopes students will bear with the school as the world continues to change everyday.

“Please be patient,” Mizoguchi said. “I know students want an opportunity to restart some of the wonderful traditions we have at WHS, as do we. We need to make sure we can hold these events safely, which will take some time.”