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The Winter Formal dance from a student’s perspective

RCHS Students Mandy Shuster, Lauren Kirger, Maria Pangalos, (CP residents) and Sarah Kaukol laugh together before going to the Winter Formal dance on January 24.  The four girls have been close since seventh grade and went to Homecoming together as well.  “It’s so nice to have such a close group of friends who have an overwhelming amount of love and support for you and your decisions.  I think these are friends I’ll have for the rest of my life.”  said Kirger.

By Maria Pangalos, RCHS intern writer; photo courtesy of Noah Depsky

Glancing down, I looked at the number written in faded black sharpie on my hand.  Fifty-six. That’s the number of my checked bag that would hold my wallet, phone, shoes, and my cares for the rest of the night.

Come on, I want to go dance!”  screamed Ashley as she grabbed my hand.  I could barely hear her over the loud bass and fast songs playing in the Rock Canyon High School cafeteria, but happily I followed.  We neared the dance floor, taking note of the number of people, which wasn’t many.  

After a solid five minutes of standing around and making small talk on the outskirts of the dance floor, we decided to head to the restroom to freshen up.  “There’s like, almost no one here.  I knew people said ‘no one comes to formal’ but I really thought that people would be here,”  Ashley said with a disappointed frown.  Leaning into fix my mascara, I said, “Don’t worry, give it time.  We showed up in the very beginning of the dance and that’s what only freshmen do.  People come, but not until later.  It’ll be fun, and if not, we’ll make it fun.”  

We rounded the grand staircase to find more people flooding into the commons.  Nearly everyone was screaming over the loud music, girls were tripping in their heels, and boys nervously tugged at their ties near the collar of their dress shirts.  Suddenly, three times as many people were waiting to lose themselves on the dance floor just like us. 

So we danced.  And danced.  And danced.  That is, until the slow songs came on.  We stood reticent on the side, watching the couples slow dance in the dim, somewhat purple lit cafeteria.  Ashley dared me to ask someone to slow dance.  I turned and grabbed the hand of a poor bystander and asked him to dance with me.  He was taken aback but agreed.

As we were dancing, I turned around and told Ashley,  “Your turn!” but she and the rest of our crew were way too busy laughing at me and they couldn’t even take a breath to ask someone to dance.

Turning to the boy I was dancing with, I said, “I’m so sorry but this was kind of a dare.”  Thankfully, he laughed and commented that he figured as such. He added, “My date ditched me when we got here about an hour and-a-half ago.  She said she was going to go get water and I haven’t seen her since.  I would much rather dance with you anyway.”  

I smiled, realizing he didn’t even know my first name, but that was okay because at school on Monday we probably wouldn’t even recognize each other because of the lighting and avoided eye contact.  That’s what  high school dances are all about, and I don’t think that will ever change.



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