Menlo’s Homecoming Dance Should Be Made Formal

October 6, 2022

Staff illustration: Sutton Inouye

Staff illustration: Sutton Inouye

Every year, Menlo rallies the school together with a packed week of Homecoming festivities. Students are encouraged to dress up in themed spirit costumes, compete in activities on the quad during lunch and attend the Homecoming football game at the end of the week. 

While these traditions match those of other nearby high schools, Menlo’s Homecoming dance differs from the local norm. The post-football game dance at Menlo is casual, meaning students, for the most part, do not attend with dates or dress in formal attire; this contrasts many other schools in the area, such as Menlo-Atherton, Woodside and Saint Ignatius — all of which opt for formal dances. Menlo should switch its Homecoming dance to similarly be formal so that the school can truly fulfill its goal of uniting the student body.

With the Homecoming dance currently being casual, underclassmen are only given one opportunity per year to attend a formal event: Semi-Formal. Semi takes place in the second semester, and students often attend with dates, in fancy dresses and suits. Freshman Hannah Bernthal believes that there should be more than one formal dance. “We don’t get to attend prom,” Bernthal said. “It would have been nice to experience a formal dance during my first semester of high school.” According to Bernthal, a formal Homecoming dance would also serve as “practice” before Semi. After experiencing a formal Homecoming, students would be better prepared when Semi rolls around in the next semester.

According to senior Julia Naik, in the weeks leading up to Semi, student conversations also completely revolve around the dance, whereas in the weeks leading up to Homecoming, the dance is barely mentioned. “For Semi, students discuss in advance about what they want to wear and who they want to go with,” Naik said. “Because there’s more planning involved in Semi, students care more about it.”  Since students need to plan ahead with ordering new outfits and getting ready with friends, Homecoming attendance is guaranteed to increase; it’s unlikely for students to decide not to attend the dance at the last minute, as this would waste such time-consuming efforts in the weeks prior.

According to sophomore Senator Avani Ganesan, the student council has previously debated if Homecoming should be made formal. “We already voted this year on if Homecoming should be formal,” Ganesan said. “We are keeping it casual this year because of the affordability aspect, and there was too much late notice to make it formal because Homecoming is so soon.” 

Senior Sofia Labatt, this year’s assemblies coordinator, agrees that the dance should be formal. Student council’s main priority is to rally the student body at school events, and, according to Labatt, a formal Homecoming dance would do just the trick.

Some students oppose the idea of a formal Homecoming dance for various reasons: buying formal outfits can be expensive, and it’s often stressful to try and find a date. However, similar to Semi, Menlo can, and should, offer clothing-swap options for students to ensure equity. Furthermore, many programs exist that allow students to rent formal garments for a fraction of the cost. 

As for finding a date, students should perceive attending Homecoming with a group of friends as just as good an option. There is definitely pressure at times to partner up with one other person, but in no way should this ever feel like a requirement. Sophomore Jacqueline Larsen attended last year’s Semi with friends and was very happy with her decision to do so. “Going with friends honestly made it more fun,” Larsen said. “We all had a great time together.”

If Homecoming were to be changed into a formal dance, Menlo staff would not need to prepare for the event any differently, either. Whether the dance is casual or formal, most of the same space, decorations and music would still be used. Even if a formal dance requires a little more effort to prepare, the school can form a student decorating and planning committee to relieve some of this tedious work from Menlo staff. Therefore, if planning more or less stays the same for the faculty, students should have a stronger voice in the event’s overall structure. 

Ultimately, Menlo School should seriously consider a formal Homecoming dance, because it would effectively increase student attendance. Menlo is already a small school, meaning that for school events to be successful, the majority of the student body must attend. With a more formal dance, students would anticipate Homecoming as a real, exciting event, rather than yet another school-sponsored get-together.

Leave a Comment
About the Writer
Photo of Kaylie Wu
Kaylie Wu, A&L Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 3

Favorite aspect of journalism: I love reading the finished print issues and seeing how much we've all accomplished!

Interests outside of school: writing, dancing, music.

Class of 2023

The Coat of Arms • Copyright 2022 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

The Coat of Arms encourages dialogue with our audience. We welcome constructive comments that avoid slander, hate, profanity and misinformation. In an effort to give voice to a variety of perspectives, anonymous comments will be considered, but signed comments are preferred. If you would like to submit an anonymous comment, please write "Anonymous" in the "Name" field below. While a valid email address is required, The Coat of Arms will not publish your email address. The Editorial Board will review comments and decide whether they will be put online; the editors reserve the right to edit for concision.
All The Coat of Arms Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *