Hey, it’s my first high school dance, and I’ll wear a mask if I have to

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Minjeong Kim

In her deep forest green colored dress, senior Minjeong Kim practices curling her hair in front of the mirror before attending the Homecoming dance on Oct. 16 at the Sunny Hills High School quad.

Minjeong Kim

I never expected to attend my first high school homecoming dance with a mask on.

I didn’t attend any social functions in my previous three years of high school because I didn’t have the desire to attend them as an underclassman since I viewed them as mere methods of socializing. If I were to go to any of these events for the sole purpose of spending time with my friends, why not rather hang out with them somewhere else, such as going to the mall or the movie theater without the uncomfortable expectation of getting dressed up and wearing fancy high heels.

However, when I saw some of my friends attending the homecoming dance and enjoying its convivial atmosphere in my sophomore year (the dance was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic), it sparked my interest and made me wonder what the experience would be like. 

Some of these friends told me they really enjoyed singing from the top of their lungs while making stomping noises in their heels and dancing to the lively songs the DJ played.

Seeing others under the bright, changing lights and upbeat background music from their Instagram stories on the day of the homecoming dance seemed exhilarating and made me think, If that’s what homecoming is like, I should definitely not miss out on the event next year

As a sophomore, I settled into making the decision that I wanted to attend the event in my junior year, not knowing it would get canceled.

But I also began to worry that I might miss my chance to attend my first high school dance if things didn’t get any better with COVID-19’s delta variant.

Thankfully, it hasn’t hit Orange County that bad yet, so school officials allowed the Associated Student Body [ASB] to announce Sept. 27 on its Instagram account (@sunnyhills.asb) that it would still be holding the event on Saturday, Oct. 16, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mandate that it be held outdoors. 

Because the mandate requires indoor events to be capped at 1,000 guests, and the ASB expects more than that amount would want to get out of their homes, it had to settle for organizing an outdoor event in the quad instead of following the tradition of holding it inside the gym.

I am glad that the ASB put a lot of effort into allowing the Class of 2022 to experience most of its senior year events by making modifications to accommodate the current situation. It was devastating how I wasn’t able to experience any events last year after waiting to attend them since my sophomore year.

Although I am aware that attending such crowded events may be risky because of close distances among people, I do not want COVID-19 to take away my first and last homecoming dance of my high school years.

I believe other students will also be able to safely enjoy this evening if they wear their masks at appropriate times. Although these face coverings may not be required because the event is held outdoors, I believe that students should wear them, besides taking them off to eat or take pictures, since the event is very crowded and would require extra contact among attendees.

With my dress (dark forest green and velvet texture) and ticket ready, I am looking forward to attending my first high school dance with my friends. Although I do not have a date who’s asked me out to homecoming, I don’t think that will determine how much fun I will have at the event as it is supposed to make an everlasting memory for me and my friends who plan to go stag.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone dressed up and socializing with others, especially since the first quarter of the semester has ended and we can take one night off from worrying about our grades or studying for quizzes or tests. 

After missing out on the fun for over a year, I no longer view these social functions as “functions” but as a meaningful occasion in which we can gather and relieve our stress in adjusting from distance to in-person learning. 

Especially since I have been busy working on my college admissions applications, I’m sure I will do my best to make sure this upcoming activity will live up to its billing –  that it’ll make memories that will become a “Tale as Old as Time.”