Photo submitted by Olivia Bystrom

The 9/10 Formal traditionally offers a photo booth included in the ticket cost. Sophomores Nick Congdon and Olivia Bystrom, then freshmen, pose at the 2018 9/10 Formal.

The 9/10 formal gives underclassmen opportunities

May 9, 2019

A classic high school tradition, prom, is quickly approaching. Students worldwide look forward to it as an extravagant cultural element of their high school careers. Though the majority of juniors and seniors attend, sophomores and freshmen mostly miss out on the opportunity simply due to their age. However, opportunities arise for the underclassmen to share in the experience of the school dance season, such as the 9/10 Formal.

The 9/10 Formal dance for freshmen and sophomores was held on April 27 in the Pony Activity Center. Besides admission, the ticket cost of $12 accounted for a live DJ and a photo booth. The theme of the 9/10 Formal was the same theme as prom, Under the Stars.

Many believe the dance to be a replica of prom designed for underclassmen. It is designed similarly to prom for that reason, with a matching theme and similar activities offered.

The student body considers the 9/10 Formal to be “just like a mini prom,” sophomore Olivia Bystrom said.

The event is entirely run by Student Council. Student Council arranged decorations, coordinated ticket sales, promoted the dance and more.

“It’s not really that hard to organize… it’s pretty relaxed,” senior Nikhil Kumaran said.

A similarity between the 9/10 Formal and prom is the Under the Stars theme. This theme is mainly a difference of decoration, but serves the purpose of making the dance more unique and attractive to attend.

Student Council decided to create a cohesive theme “so students are more likely to come. It’s nicer than just a plain dance in the basketball gym. We’re trying to make it fun, we’re trying to make kids want to go,” Kumaran explained.

I feel like a lot of people like to go with somebody special. Everyone wants to dress up and put on their best face for the night and have that opportunity to be fancy… because you can’t really do that every day.”

— Olivia Bystorm

One of the aspects of school dances that students look forward to is attending with a date. Throughout the history of school dances, including prom, going with a date has been tied in to the culture around them.

“I feel like a lot of people like to go with somebody special. Everyone wants to dress up and put on their best face for the night and have that opportunity to be fancy… because you can’t really do that every day,” Bystrom added.

Because of its close proximity to prom, the 9/10 Formal faces criticism from students, underclassmen and upperclassmen alike. Many believe it to be a less authentic knock-off of prom. Though the 9/10 Formal offers a similar experience to prom, many are hesitant to attend because of the stigmatized idea around it.

Bystrom said that some students tend to judge the 9/10 Formal simply because they believe it isn’t as good as prom.

Regardless of the student body’s general opinion and outlook on the dance, those who plan and administrate the 9/10 Formal have the mission of providing an equal opportunity for underclassmen during prom season.

Student council strives to take account of the fact that “a lot of times, underclassmen can feel left out when there are things that only upperclassmen can do,” senior Nettie Johnson said.

“We’re kind of designing it so that kids feel like, “oh, this is a dance for us too. Not that there’s a dance for upperclassmen, but this is a counterpart and we’re able to be included in this whole kind of dance mania around the spring,” Kumaran explained.

In the excitement of the prom season, freshmen and sophomores value having a school dance opportunity to call their own.

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