By Jessica Secan
Student Life & Event Coordinator
March 4, 2019
I’ve chaperoned every single formal dance in my 8 years at Forest Ridge. As I greet each student at the check in table, I swell with memories of my own experience as a teenager, while sensing that they may have the same worries that I had 20 years ago.
The adults in our community know this all too well. We come from different backgrounds and had different experiences in high school. There is a possibility though, that many of us remember that first formal dance as a stand out moment. Maybe it is a dear sweet memory, or possibly, it is one you’d like to skip over. Most likely a blend of awkward, beautiful and hilarious all at the same time.
I went to High School in Napa Valley, California in the 1990’s. The students think that was a century ago and picture a John Hughes movie. To me, it seems like yesterday. My memories are mostly positive, but what I do remember was that nervous energy that I’m sure many of my peers felt as well. Did my make-up look ok? I’d never worn that much before! Will someone want to dance with me? Will I even want to dance? How do you even dance at a dance? How will I even dance in these shoes? I’ve never worn heels this high before! What if I have the same dress as someone else? What if I hate everything about the evening?
When our students enter formal dances, they have bright smiles, dresses or stylish pantsuits that match their unique personalities. Some elements of style have changed, but it really is true that fashion is cyclical. Dresses our students wear today almost match identically with the 1999 prom dress that is still hanging in a closet at my parents’ home in California. Students still take their heels off almost immediately and pull socks out of their purses for gliding across the dance floor. Selfies are taken by the thousands, but instead of taking the film to Walgreens to get developed, our students have the immediate luxury of making sure that their eyes weren’t closed. They talk of the meals they had at the restaurants beforehand, and the photos taken by their embarrassing parents when all they wanted to do was get out the door and relax with their friends.
Our students are incredible at formal dances. Their kindness exhibited at school follows them to the dance floor, where they end up dancing together in a massive group while singing their favorite songs at the top of their lungs. They are genuinely excited to see teacher chaperones, sometimes even stopping to take selfies with them, which is so different than anything I’ve experienced working in the past at public schools.
Forest Ridge Formal Dances exemplify what Goal 4 is about. Students spend time dancing alongside their peers in carefully chosen outfits that match who they are on the inside.
Prom will be here in a few months, and I’ll be there again, greeting students at the door, smiling at their anxious energy, and hoping that they have memories just like mine that they can look back and laugh about 20 years from now.
- Forest Ridge Blog