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Planning an Enchanted Forest-Themed Junior Formal


Every year, juniors look forward to November for the first real dance of their Hastings High School careers: Junior Formal, more commonly known as “JF.” On Monday, November 6, the class of 2025 got their very own Enchanted Forest-themed evening in the Cochran Gym. A number of people put a lot of effort into the planning of this magical night.

Mrs. Rudolph, the junior class advisor, is the main organizer of the event, but, as she explained in an interview, she makes sure that students also “participate in different ways.” The first step of planning is to come up with a theme. Mrs. Rudolph said that this year the “students were lovely and got together to come up with a few different themes. They ran it through a vote and had another meeting to come up with plans for food, decor, [and] things like that.” 

Jack Maney, the junior class president, said that he was “surprised how little involvement [the Student Union representatives] have.” Most of their work took place at the end of September and beginning of October, when they ran the mini-panels to pick themes and the food and decor that they wanted. He also acknowledged that “there was gonna be a lot of debate on the theme and what we wanted, so we said the only way you can have a say is by coming to the meeting.” There was an open invitation to the entire grade to attend these meetings, but “it was a little hard to get involvement—most people wanted a say but didn’t want to waste a lunch period.” In total, around 20 people came to those meetings. 

After the mini-panels were over, the bulk of the work began. Mrs. Rudolph said that the parents are “where the magic happens. They’re putting together the decor needed to transform the gym.” Her favorite part of the planning process is “the twinkle in the kids’ eyes…when [they] start to realize it’s actually happening, and it’s actually a dance, [and] there’s an actual DJ.”

Every year, Mrs. Rudolph reflects on the event’s successes and aspects that needed improvement in order to troubleshoot and avoid frequent pitfalls the next year. She describes herself as “a very organized and planned out person,” which helps her in making sure the event comes together smoothly each year. She believes that the past two years, they have really “nailed” JF, bringing it back after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In discussions about JF, a frequent topic to appear is that HHS has only two official dances: JF and Senior Prom. Mrs. Rudolph highlighted this as a unique aspect of Hastings, and she mentioned that the lack of other dances makes these two more special. While some students are big advocates for more dances, such as a Homecoming dance, Jack Maney acknowledges that “it’s a lot of work” for them to be planned. However, he believes that if other grades were “willing to put in the work” to plan more dances, “it would be really fun.” 

In the end, Mrs. Rudolph’s main wish is that underclassmen “knew a little bit more” about JF, and she wants to “demystify” it. “That’s the hope, that this jazzes people up and is exciting, because school shouldn’t just be grades and tests.” Jack Maney ended by saying that he was “really really excited” and that he knows “a lot of kids in [junior year were] looking forward to it.”

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About the Contributor
Sonya Lasser, Managing Editor
Sonya is currently a senior and has been writing for the Buzzer for two years. When she isn't out at a movie theater, she can be found doing her physics homework, planning out a new sewing project, or hanging out with friends.

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