Senior Project Spotlight: Homecoming

A new dance arrived at GS for the first time in many years, and it’s all thanks to one senior.

Senior Sam Malinowski set an ambitious goal for herself with her senior project this year, deciding to plan an entire Homecoming Dance.

“I always wanted to do something for the school and I [didn’t] think GS would let me do a lot of things with it,” Malinowski said. “It’ll be interesting, I think, because we haven’t had it for almost ten years.”

One of the regulations for senior projects is that they have to tie into your future career choice. The project is the final step of the Career Awareness Program (CAP).

“I kind of want to be a wedding planner, so [the Homecoming Dance will] h

homecoming autumn

GS students pose at homecoming dance photo by Autumn B.

elp me learn to organize and plan events,” she said.

Mr. Christopher Gazze, her senior project Advisor, talked about all the planning Malinowski had to do in order to hold a dance.

“You need to plan, budget-wise, what you can spend and starting from scratch here basically the revenue’s going to be ticket sales,” Mr. Gazze said. “She had to estimate how many people are going to come out, deciding on a price point that she can have enough budget to pay for the dance but also that people can afford to go. She was looking at pizza and drinks there, to provide for the students and to sell, budgeting for the DJ, and also working with the school. She had to plan as far as the facility use, facility usage forms, a date. Also, she has to plan to get chaperones, so there’s a lot of aspects that people don’t see, because they just go out, buy their ticket and then they’re there.”

Malinowski figured out some of her budgeting by having the dance on school grounds, instead of renting a room somewhere.

“I’m having it in the courtyard, so it’s going to be outside,” Malinowski said, “It’s only going to be $10, so it’s really cheap.”

Having a dance off-grounds raises the ticket price, which can be seen with Christmas Dance tickets and Prom tickets. The Homecoming Dance has a cheaper ticket price so that people who enjoy dances don’t have to spend a lot of money, which brings hopes of a successful night.

“It’s new,” she said. “No one at the high school has been to a Homecoming Dance, so I think it’ll spark people’s interest.”

Gazze, having seen previous Homecoming Dances GS has tried to hold, had a few worries, but is overall hopeful.

“I know lately there have been a lot of students excited about the prospect of having a Homecoming Dance, so in that aspect, I definitely think it can succeed,” he said. “I also have some reservations because the last time we tried to have one there was some enthusiasm and we, unfortunately, had some low attendance. The other concern is it’s so early in the year it limits your planning time. Having Homecoming the third week of school is crazy. It’s the earliest I can remember having it. But as long as everyone’s excited about it and hopefully we get a beautiful night and have a cool event out in the courtyard, I think it will be really neat.”

One of Gazze’s concerns with the project comes from his previous experience with planning big activities with the Student Council Association (SCA).

“It’s someone’s senior project,” he said. “You’re letting them do it. I’m used to being involved in the planning process with Student Council officers, so this one, kind of letting her go on her own and make mistakes and have successes, is really different for me. But that’s the only way she’s going to learn the process.”

Senior Sasha Vogel wasn’t aware there was a Homecoming Dance until she asked some friends about it.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Vogel said. “A lot of schools always do a Homecoming Dance. It’s a kind of formal dance in a way, so you don’t always go to prom, so the other kind of [formal] dance we have is the winter dance. This gives you another dance to dress up.”

Even though the Homecoming Dance is new to current students, and rivals the Christmas Dance and Prom, students don’t expect it to be as fancy. They’re just going to try out a new dance, and have a fun night with their friends.

“I know we always talk about having a Homecoming Dance and [that] it sucks that GS doesn’t have one, so I think it’ll be cool to see a lot of people come out and enjoy it,” Vogel said.

The dance was mostly advertised through online media and has a hope of continuing in future years.

“It’s another type of fancy dance, and it’s a dance that’s not the winter formal or prom, the only other two,” Vogel said.

Students are excited to have a new school dance available for them to attend. It’s another excuse to get dressed up and enjoy themselves. This brings hope for Malinowski, who wishes for her project to continue in the future as another activity to add to GS.

“I am going to weave a planning guide at the end of my senior project so whoever wants to take it on can have a guide,” Malinowski said.

GS’ Homecoming Queen is typically announced at the Homecoming Football game. Students say that the activities should stay at the game instead of moving to the Homecoming Dance.

“Everyone always goes out there,” Vogel said. “It’s a lot more organized at the football games, I think, and you can go a little more all-out, because if you do it [in] the courtyard it’s not really as fancy.”

Aside from the football game and dance, there’s a whole spirit week for Homecoming. Gazze hopes that the dance will add another element to the week.

“Hopefully something like this can make Homecoming a week that’s more about events than just the Friday night football game,” he said. “It’s a week of fun events for the student body and it’s something they can look back on and be like ‘Yeah, we had an awesome week during homecoming.’”

Even though the dance itself is over, Malinowski still has a lot to prepare for before her project is ready to be presented. There is still the opportunity to continue the dance in upcoming years, either as a senior project or with SCA and Mr. Gazze.

“I hope it succeeds,” he said. “If it does it gives [the SCA] officers something to work for in the future, to make it bigger and better.”

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