The Euphoria of an Ordinary Dance

October’s Homecoming saw record turnout as students embraced a pre-COVID high school tradition


Ali Murray '22

Seniors and juniors pose for a picture at Homecoming.

Looking around the Ransom Everglades gym during Homecoming (HOCO), for the first time in over a year and a half, the upper school students seemed more united than ever. The event students had been waiting for since the beginning of the pandemic had finally arrived. Throughout the night, all anyone could hear was laughter and singing voices, intertwined with the colorful disco lights and music. It was a typical high school experience, but one that RE students will remember for the rest of their lives.
Before COVID-19, the Homecoming dance was often referred to as the Fall ‘Freshman’ dance because other grades rarely attended. “Homecoming was really just for freshmen. No one really went—maybe some sophomores. It felt a lot bigger than it was. I think it had always been seen as a freshman year dance because we had other dances for upperclassmen,” recalled Sofia Andrade ’19.
This year, the Student Government Association (SGA) decided to “rebrand [the Fall Dance] and label it ‘Homecoming’ to get more RE students to participate and to ensure that we were not losing money in the process of creating a fantastic night,” shared Alexa Hommen ’22. Along with changing its name, SGA gave HOCO a theme, Masquerade. They promoted the event through social media accounts on Instagram, such as @rehoco21 and class-led pages.
At times, in the weeks leading up to the event, it felt as though the entire school could not stop talking about it. School days were punctuated by loud cheers for HOCO-proposals, this time from girls rather than guys—over half the female student population asked male students to the dance. Up until the final few days of Homecoming, people were still being asked. Emilia Suarez Herrero ’24 praised the tradition of girls asking guys to Homecoming, saying it “flips the script.”
SGA worked tirelessly for weeks to make decorations, plan the venue, and coordinate with SAGE dining to cater the food. They set up the entire event with the help of SGA sponsor Mr. Jorge Guzman. On that Saturday, “it seemed like we were never going to finish setting up,” Hommen recalled.
But they did, and their efforts paid off: around 400 students attended. Sofia Romanov ’24 said the reason why she believed more people participated this year was that “it was the first thing that [felt] normal.” Many of the students in attendance had not even had the opportunity to go to a school dance; in Romanov’s view, they were “more grateful for it because [they had] seen it taken away.”
After taking pictures at friends’ houses, students showed up to Homecoming at around 7:00 p.m. with their dates and the people in their groups. Walking down the long RE campus in anticipation of the night to come, friends greeted each other with smiles. After signing in, everyone congregated by the gymnasium. Colorful tinsel streamers were hanging from the ceiling and on the walls, and the tables had black and purple tablecloths with table confetti.
The snacks made by SAGE were a hit—especially the tequeños, chocolate chip cookies, pretzels, and chicken nuggets. As the long tables were arranged in a long line, they brought together large groups of people from different grades. Freshmen were sitting with sophomores, and some juniors were sitting with seniors.
Initially, the dance was supposed to be held outside; when the weather forecast predicted rain, SGA decided to move the location into the gymnasium. The change went smoothly, but it did lead to one unintended consequence: when Maria Luiza Schuchovski ’22 first walked into the dance, she noticed that “only a few people were wearing masquerade masks,” since wearing them on top of COVID masks would have meant covering their entire faces.
When the DJ started playing throwback music, many students began dancing and only stopped once their feet hurt. Sol Cuello Robert ’22 “enjoyed the atmosphere and spent a lot of time dancing” with her friends. She remembered that “everyone had their shoes off and hands up.”
For Sophia Capote ’22, “participating in a tradition and spending the night at school with friends” was the most memorable part of Homecoming. She had never had the chance to participate in an all-school dance before this year, and she was happy to take part in a history-making event at Ransom Everglades.
For Herrero, Homecoming was about bringing the community together. “Any opportunity for RE students and the RE community to socialize outside school… helps people get to know each other and be comfortable with each other,” she said.