How a Group of High School Students Held a High School Dance


MCHS students, Davis Powell, Dylan Banks, and Isiah Denning before the 2022 MCHS semi-formal dance.

Davis Powell, Staff Reporter

Only someone crazy would do something so stupid as to try to take on a dance, and I certainly went crazy trying to do it. It was an incredible experience, though, and I created memories and established friendships that will likely last me the rest of my life.

Where do I even start? Well, I guess I’ll start at the beginning. I was hanging out with some friends; we were just about to go into some restaurant or other. The employees were hanging up hearts on the door and windows in preparation for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.

One of my friends, Nattas Loechler, was inspired by it. He approached me and said, “We should host a Valentine’s Day dance.”

Of course, I gave him a look that everyone deserves to get when they suggest hosting a dance: “You’re crazy.” 

He was serious, though, and soon convinced me that we should host a dance. It didn’t sound like a bad idea at the time, but I’d never planned anything of that magnitude before.

Of course, I was bewildered. I had no idea what even the first step of planning an event was. I racked my brains and soon concluded that we shouldn’t organize a dance if people aren’t interested. As such, the first step became testing the waters, seeing if people truly wanted a dance. 

I posted on some social media sites asking if anyone would be interested in a Valentine’s Day dance. Of course, I’m notorious for not knowing anything about school events, so I was a bit surprised when I got a barrage of “there’s already a dance going on; it’s the semi-formal!”

I quickly realized there was no point in hosting a Valentine’s Day dance if there was already a dance going on. Fewer people would come to both events if two were so close to each other, right?

As of mid-January, the idea was done as fast as it was conceived. That’s it. End of story, right?

Well, that’d make for a pretty dull (and short) story, and you and I both know I wouldn’t be writing this if it didn’t happen. I hate to kill the suspense for you, though, so I’ll try to keep you on the edge of your seat the best I can.

Banks, Powell, and MCHS student Makenna Molen

Remember that little COVID-19 pandemic that happened? Well, one of the ways that everyone tried to prevent the spread was through masks, which the school required students to wear from the start of the pandemic. 

Of course, being a school event, the dance required masks. By mid-February, the dance had been postponed indefinitely. Mrs. Lee, the one organizing the semi-formal, decided she didn’t want to enforce masks. This brought into question whether there would be a semi-formal at all, which breathed new life into my dance. 

I discussed with some friends if we even wanted to put in the effort into making a dance, especially with there being so little time to prepare. There was about a week before Valentine’s Day, so we, unfortunately, couldn’t schedule the dance for then.

We decided to push it back to the last Saturday in February, which gave us about four weeks to prepare everything. I still had zero clue what went into organizing dances, so I decided to put it off until I could gather more information. 

And put it off, I did! I had a lot of stuff going on at the time, mostly a lot of friend drama and school drama and screwing up drama. The more I worried about the dance, the more panicked I became. I had no clue what I was doing, and putting on a semi-formal seemed like a daunting task.

I won’t detail what happened, but I ended up having a week-long mental breakdown. Hosting a dance had finally driven me crazy. So, I had to make the tough decision that my mental health was much more important than putting on a dance. Thus, I decided I’d let the idea go again. 

You’re still reading, right? Good. You know as well as I do, the dance got put on, so you know something had to happen. And something did happen: her name is Trinity Stoner.

About two weeks go by (we’re now in mid-February), the project has become a distant memory again. Remember the whole ‘information gathering’ I had to do to prepare for the dance? I talked to a few people who got very excited about the dance. One of them got so excited they volunteered to help! Her name was Trinity, and without her, I doubt there would have been a dance.

When someone volunteers to help you out, you can’t just go up to them and say, “Life got too hard; I gave up.” As much as I wanted to do that, I didn’t have that option. So, suddenly, I had someone who could give me that kick in the rear I needed. 

Not only that, but she and I bounced ideas off of one another. She brought up things I never considered, including one precious suggestion: “Why don’t you have it at the Moose Lodge?”

Banks helping set up for the dance.

I suddenly knew where I was having it, I knew how to market it, and I knew what to do to plan further. Thanks to Trinity, hosting a dance no longer looked quite as crazy.

Everything started falling into place. We had three weeks to plan (Trinity suggested we push the dance back again to March 5th to give people time to go dress shopping). We started selling tickets, printing posters, and finalizing everything.

I had a few worries about the dance, of course. I was an 18-year-old, and I was organizing the dance. That meant that I was legally liable for anything that went wrong at the dance. That and the responsibilities of organizing had me a little apprehensive of putting the dance together.

Then the unthinkable happened. The school’s semi-formal was canceled due to COVID restrictions. Indiana removed their mask mandates towards the end of February, among other COVID-related policies. The school figured that they would take it out of our hands. 

I reluctantly agreed, figuring that it was probably a better idea to let the school have it should anything go awry. I spoke with Mrs. Lee on Friday, and we agreed that the school should put it on. The tickets that we had already sold would still count towards the dance, and they’d shoot for March 5th as our posters previously advertised.

Enter Isiah Denning, a pretty good friend of mine. He wasn’t thrilled with the fact that the school had taken the semi-formal back, as he took it as a sense of pride. He convinced me that we should put the dance on since much had already been done. 

Where Trinity left off, Isiah picked up. I bounced what was left of planning (the more specific details) off him, and we worked out the kinks.

Denning helping stock up for semi-formal.

My biggest stumbling block of this entire venture was procuring chaperones. The problem with hosting a dance is that there is one of you and 160 students. If something goes wrong, you have no way of doing crowd control.

Isiah’s mom sent out an advertisement, and that’s how we got a lot of our chaperones. I asked a few people, like Mrs. Cope, who also helped out.

The school naturally has access to things like resource officers like Officer McVey. I have no idea where to get a police officer. If there was a fight and we needed an officer, I had no idea what to do.


I talked to a couple of people who worked in the field, trying to contact a police officer. Fortunately, my bus driver gave me a contact with a few days to go before the dance. Everything was going splendidly!

Finally, it was the day of the dance. The semi-formal was much more profitable than expected, so we had quite a budget to spend on decorations. My friends and I went to Family Tree and grabbed as many tablecloths as our arms could carry.

We bought those and a few other decorations, and I sent them off to the Moose Lodge to start preparing. Meanwhile, Isiah and I ran off to Dollar General to pick up as many boxes of soda cans as we could get. We ended up stuffing two carts full of them.

Pizza was also a necessity, so a few days earlier, I ordered. I’d never paid for anything in $300 worth of bills, so handing Domino’s a fat stack of $20s was a blast. 

Despite having sold the tickets for three weeks at lunch, we still had a massive number of people who either forgot to pay or never had the opportunity, so I got to set that bit up, too.

Finally, it was time. 8:00 rolled around, everyone was in place, and I announced that the Suits’ Spring Semi-Formal was to begin. After a month and a half of planning and wondering if we would ever have a semi-formal, it happened. 

We got 130 people confirmed, and I estimate about 40 more people bought at the door. I expected about 50 people to come, so 170 was beyond my wildest dreams.

We had a few hiccups; at one point, there was a fight in the bathroom, but we put chaperones around the restrooms to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. 

However, we were not the only event happening at the Moose Lodge that night. There was an event for the lodge members, so the parking lot was packed. 

Unfortunately, there were some traffic hiccups there. A student had parked in a way that wouldn’t allow one of the adults to leave. After getting one of the chaperones to yell at them, the car was moved.

Another big worry of mine was drugs and alcohol. What if students overdosed on drugs, an alcohol-induced fight broke out, or I got sued for students bringing them in the first place? Teenagers are notorious for that sort of stuff.

One of the chaperones told me that students were stepping out, getting into possible hijinks, and coming back in. I placed the police officer at the door and told him to guard it. I figured that if someone was doing something that would not reflect well on the dance, they would be asked to leave. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to ask anyone to leave.

As for the other hiccups, I’m not saying that dances aren’t riddled with problems and you shouldn’t be afraid to put one on. Instead, I want to stress that you always have to be prepared to think on your feet and solve problems quickly, efficiently, and fairly.

All in all, it was an absolute blast. If I could change one thing about how it went, I’d change who I danced with that night. The dance itself, though? Perfect.