Homecoming at Palo Alto High School has a reputation, and it’s not a good one. Paly dances are known for their low attendance, especially in comparison to those of cross-town rival Gunn High School, leading to their notoriety. But this could be the year that changes things.
Some students argue that the required breathalyzing at dances is the root of the problem. Yes, there is some truth in the fact that perhaps certain high schoolers would rather get drunk than bop awkwardly along to a bouncy pop song. However, this by no means classifies Paly’s entire student body. So, what’s the real reason for Paly dances’ lack of popularity? Is it the wrong music? Too expensive? Or are Paly dances really and truly just not fun? Let’s break it down.
When I asked a sampling of sophomores, juniors and seniors about the cause of low turnout at dances, the answers varied. Yes, there were some who complained about the music, and others who didn’t feel it was worth spending $5 for a ticket when they could make their own (free) fun. But the overwhelming answer was neither of these. Indeed, the majority answer was overwhelmingly, “nobody goes, so they’re boring.” And there you have it. To put it simply, the problem with Paly dances is nobody goes because they’re “boring.” They’re “boring” because nobody goes. It’s a rather unfortunate cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies.
The answer to this problem is simple: go to homecoming. Paly’s Associated Student Body identified this problem, and has been working to try to boost attendance, and thus the “fun-level” of Paly dances. This year, ASB made homecoming a strictly formal event and creating a “best ask” competition. The school has been peppered with creative homecoming asks, rivaling even those of prom, which can attest to the fact that ASB’s attempts are, at least to some degree, working. If all goes well, homecoming 2013 will have record-breaking attendance, and be accordingly more entertaining.
Of course, homecoming isn’t for everyone. Many people would prefer a night in, catching up on their favorite TV show. I know I, personally, would rather spend my night grabbing dinner at my favorite restaurant before seeing a movie. And that’s perfectly okay. The problem comes when people who would otherwise love a night dancing their hearts out begin to complain, lamenting the sorry state of Paly dances and groaning that they’ll never, ever, ever be as fun as Gunn’s. Well, sweetheart, they sure wont be if you keep talking like that. The future of Paly dances is in your hands. So stop complaining, get off your couch and run, don’t walk, to Paly homecoming. You may only be one person, but if everyone pulls it together, you just might be surprised at how much fun a Paly dance can be.