Junior Formal: The Planning Process

Sophie Halliburton, Managing Editor

On November 7, the Junior Class at Hastings High School had their Junior Formal from 7 to 10pm. The Cochran Gym lobby was decorated with subway signs, a park bench and streetlights, and colored lights to mimic a city setting. The actual gym was filled with silver and cool-toned streamers, fairy lights, a large replica of the Empire State building, and various kinds of food, drinks and desserts, which we collectively owe to the Junior Formal Advisory Board (JFAB), volunteering parents, and Ms. Rudolph for putting the event together. 

Ms. Rudolph has led the JF planning process for several years now, and she was particularly impressed with this grade’s dedication to the various aspects of preparing this event. 

“The environment was very inclusive and I felt like everyone wanted everyone else to be there,” said Ms. Rudolph. She also noted that this year’s planning committee had high student participation and she had never seen students take it upon themselves to consistently have meetings for Junior Formal.

Although the initial planning began last June to determine the date of the formal, student participation in the process began early this school year in September. 

Lucy Richer, the junior class secretary and active participant in JF planning, explained how “[she] wanted it to be a very open experience for everyone to come and help plan.”

The planning process began by brainstorming theme ideas, which was particularly divisive this year according to Ms. Rudolph. She explained that “people liked the idea of a red carpet, elegance, and dressing up, so [those] who originally attended the meetings wanted the theme to be Royal Ball.” However, this theme ended up being unpopular among the Junior Class as it coincided with the death of Queen Elizabeth, so a second meeting was held to construct and brainstorm new ideas. Ultimately, the vote for the theme was between Hollywood, Starlit City, and 70s Jazz Club, to which the junior grade agreed upon Starlit City. 

Elianna Carvalho, a junior and member of the JFAB, explained that “after we decided on a theme, we split up into different groups: one was for planning the activities, one for planning food, and another for planning decor.” Although “[students] did rotate between the different groups, everyone ended up in a permanent group to finalize their ideas.”

In regards to planning activities, Ms. Rudolph expressed that it is “difficult because we don’t want to mitigate the fanciness of [Junior Formal], but at the same time we want [everyone] to feel included.” Thus, the JFAB uniquely came up with the idea of door prizes–which consisted of a pass to skip a certain class, a gift card, candy, etc.–for students that were to be picked up as they walked into the gym.

Overall, Junior Formal was a huge success, so thank you to everyone who contributed and participated in the planning process!