Creating Celebrations


by Andrew Lindsay and Feiya Wang, Features Reporters

graphic by Clare Cho

Springtime is an exciting time for students and teachers alike. As the school year begins to wane, the yearlong efforts made by each grade’s class officers to plan exciting, end-of-year events begin to come to fruition.

This year, the freshman class officers are planning their class’ dance, “Under the Stars.” Freshman vice president Owen Butler said the theme had a variety of romantic undertones.

“We’re really trying to go for a spacey, a little bit romantic kind of thing, like you’re just sitting under the stars with a lover,” he said.

When it comes to planning an event, Butler said that the first step is to have an open-ended conversation about its desired outcome.

“[First we have] a preliminary meeting. Basically, we just sit down and think, ‘Okay, what do we want out of this?’” he said. “Then, there are a few meetings after that that are more like, ‘We need to figure out the logistics. What are we going to call it? How are we going to advertise it?’”

Funding is always a challenge when it comes to planning a big event. While it’s been a tradition for the freshman class to go on an end-of-year cruise in years past, freshman class president Harvey Chen said that with the budget they have, it isn’t an option this year.

“We wanted to go on the cruise originally, but it was just too expensive,” he said. “We didn’t have enough fundraising and we figured out if we save money this year, for the next few years we [will have more elaborate dances].”

On the other hand, the sophomore class officers decided to take their end-of-year event in a different direction. Their dance, the “Black Light Bash,” was organized around the blacklight they rented. 

When it came to the planning process, class officer Clio McAneny said that the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO) played a big role in helping to make the event possible.

“We set up a [form through] SignUpGenius every year for our dances where parents and the PTSO can sign up to bring stuff. Last year, almost all of our decorations were supplied by the PTSO which was really helpful,” she said. “If they don’t donate enough for what we need, we buy it ourselves with the money we’ve raised from previous events.”

Sophomore vice president Chloe Hu said that a lot of logistical details had to be taken into account while finalizing the details for the dance.

“We had to think about the different events that we wanted to do, and we looked into different photo booths, food and decoration,” she said. “We have LED lights, and we’re also trying to add different fairy lights.”

This year, the junior class’ annual semi-formal dance is being held at the Boston Marriott hotel in May. Junior class president Kevin Yang said that the class officers chose the venue because of its ideal location and amenities.

“We wanted a venue that was friendly, that had good lighting, that was large and also close enough to Newton,” he said. “We found that the Newton Marriott right by the Charles was just a perfect location. It has a great view of the river. It’s really spacious inside, it was well furnished and it’s extremely close to most of the students who go to South.”

Yang said that the event’s Red Carpet theme was chosen to give attendees some flexibility in their attire.

“If you look at the celebrities who go on the red carpet, there’s a variety of dresses and suits that they wear,” he said. “Likewise, we also wanted something that was a little professional, so we didn’t want to go for [something like] a beach theme.”

Junior class advisor Sarah Maillet said that class advisors play an important role in outreach to other adults involved in the process.

“We reach out to the PTSO when we need [to] or when we’re asking something of them, or if we’re asking something of the custodians, the staff, the faculty at large,” she said. “[We help the officers] organize their thoughts in their thought process so that they can plan the best event possible.”

Considered an iconic part of the high school experience, attending prom has been something that many seniors have been looking forward to since the day they first arrived at South. 

This year’s prom will be hosted at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Senior class president Tom Shimoni said that the theme for the event, “A Night in Paris,” had been inspired by an iconic French landmark, the Palace of Versailles.

“We couldn’t do [a Red Carpet theme], because last year they used that theme. So, we thought, ‘Let’s go for a night in Paris,’” he said.

Senior class advisor Patrick Jordan Quern said that while class officers are mostly independent, he provided support to them throughout the planning process.

“In meetings, we’re [mostly] there for support as advisors,” he said. “[We do] anything that needs contracts…venues, food, music, lights, donations, whenever there needs to be an adult signature.”

Shimoni said that the most challenging aspect of the planning process was narrowing down his vision for the dance.

“The hardest part is [that] we have so many ideas we want to have at the event, but there’s only so much money that we can invest,” he said. “And so we just have to prioritize what we really want.”

Quern said that his favorite part of the planning process is getting to see the ideas students come up with.

“All of the classes also meet during the same block, so you get to overhear what other people are doing,” he said. “It’s interesting to see all the creative ideas — we kind of feed off of each other.”

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