It’s been almost four years since MHS changed the turnabout dance to the winter formal. It’s been almost two years since the winter formal has been transitioned into WinterFest. As an alternative to a formal dance with a single DJ, WinterFest is now a dance that is full of new activities, choices and food.
Yet, as this new change has occurred, there’s been a significant lack of students wanting to support the change made here.
“I didn’t attend because I felt it is a kiddish idea, and I prefer a more formal dance; I felt it was kind of a middle school dance,” said junior Caroylnn Burke who didn’t attend WinterFest last year.
Personally, when I heard the change was being made last year, I was immediately against it, too. I had no interest in attending a dance that wasn’t similar to Homecoming, and I also prefer dances that have smaller turnouts. I’m able to stay close with my friends, and I can actually get close to the DJ without getting trampled.
But, after considering WinterFest more carefully this year, I realized that this isn’t just supposed to be a formal dance or a casual night out; it’s something that can be open to what the students themselves want the night to be.
“WinterFest is still a dance but just offers a lot more…. At some point, most students need a break from dancing. WinterFest also has a video game station, oversized games (chess, Connect 4), a graffiti wall, a photo booth and an inflatable activity,” Patrick Gaughan, who co-sponsors Student Leadership with Cynthia Henrichs, said about all that WinterFest has to offer and how there is something for everyone.
While at first the WinterFest seemed to lack what the students actually wanted, Student Leadership needed to do something different. In the past, the winter formal had a significant lack of attendees (around 300 students), especially when compared to Homecoming, which had more than 1,000 students this year.
“Prior to changing it to the winter dance…a lot of students didn’t want to spend a lot of money with Prom coming up… so we wanted to move to a more inclusive event [for students],” Cynthia Henrichs, co-sponsor of Student Leadership, said about the main reason for the change to WinterFest.
To help increase attendance numbers for this year’s WinterFest, Student Leadership has assembled the Hype team– a group of students to help promote WinterFest socially and online.
“We want to get as many people to WinterFest as possible because we want everyone to be included and to have fun,” said Marley Wilkins, a junior member of the Hype team. “The Hype team also helps plan some fun activities so that everyone can feel included, and there are different activities for people with all kinds of interests.”
Because many students so quickly dismissed WinterFest last year, students–like myself– didn’t really even know what WinterFest was, but the Hype team has been getting more students to at least understand that the WinterFest isn’t supposed to be like Homecoming. The team has also promoted the event just enough but has not gone overboard with the promotions as to overwhelm the students with the facts and fun it will be.
Even though WinterFest is a change from the past, it’s worth giving this change a chance. In doing so, it’s also giving fun a chance, too. Students may find there truly is something for everyone, so embrace the change, and give WinterFest a try on Feb. 29.