Staff Editorial: Community Struggles to Connect Through Lack of Dances, Mandatory Fun


Betsy Fries, Creative Director

Students would like to think that the adults, namely the administration in the building, prioritize a sense of community among the student body. We acknowledge and fully understand that they are humans too, and they won’t be able to please everyone. While a lot of the burden falls on the students to lean into the activities planned by the administration, the administration’s actions, namely not holding a spring dance this year, do not align with their statements about community, communication, and school events. 

There does not seem to be any rationale behind not holding any community event, and students are eager to hear more open and honest communication from the administration. While dances may pose a larger COVID-19 exposure threat than in-person school, mandatory fun like advisory activities are no more dangerous than going to class.  These contradictions are shown as many emails were sent out about the importance of community, but no action was taken. However, when asked by the student body about holding a dance or any community building activity, we are met with phrases like “thank you for your concern and we will be discussing together soon,” and then silence. 

Considering social distancing guidelines are no longer enforced strictly around the school, we are now fully back in person, and CDC safety recommendations are changing, we would think that there would be room for some community building functions, such as a spring dance. Students understand the potential risks that holding school functions could entail, but we would appreciate more discussion surrounding these events. If Blake is prioritizing education over community building activities, then administrators should articulate this more clearly and directly with students. Communication and transparency are vital, especially with the loss of normal assemblies. 

There’s been so little unity with the Hybrid Teaching and Learning Plan (HTLP) and color groups that ensued. One way grade deans and advisors have attempted to create a community in the past is with “mandatory fun.” For example, things like advisory activities, grade retreats, assembly games, the 2018 pep rally that was interrupted by rain, and more. Although the attendance is high because these events are mandatory, they are notorious for a lack of enthusiasm. After this year, however, the attitudes towards these activities have shifted. Blake did not host any of those mandatory fun activities, making students believe that the administration stopped caring about the community. 

Dances are a fun way to come together as a community; they give the students something to look forward to throughout their months of hectic working and allow students to interact with each other outside of the classroom and off the field. With schools that have much larger student bodies than Blake holding dances, there seems to be a disconnect between the students and administrators as to why we were not able to have a prom after closing ceremonies or a similar event with safety precautions in place.  

Making space for the community and growth is the first step to finding a solution. More communication like emails, announcements, posters, grade meetings between administrators and students would be appreciated. Hearing from administration, like Head of School Anne Stavney, and understanding their rationale behind certain decisions like whether or not they are going to hold a dance would help with transparency and communication. 

It’s not just administrators’ responsibility to fix students’ attitudes towards school functions and events. We as students, especially the upperclassmen, hold a lot of the power and responsibility to enhance school spirit and make high school an enjoyable experience. Showing up and being active at events like Legacy Day, grade retreats, and dances will help to make the Blake community the best it can be. Leaning into school related and organized events are critical to fostering a more positive school atmosphere.