The class of 2023’s junior ring dance


Courtesy of Julia Lafountaine

Gabi Altinok, Staff Writer

“I just wanted it to be a memorable event: the classic high school experience that we didn’t get,” said junior Kenza Zitouni.

The first PA dance of the year was held on Friday, April 29 at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Despite the lack of a homecoming dance, the junior ring dance was an event to bring good memories to upperclassmen.

“I feel like any dance at first will be a bit slow, but honestly I really enjoyed it,” said junior Anna Royse. Once more people arrived, the dance floor was packed.

The theme for the dance was “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was chosen during a committee meeting based on how well it fitted with both the venue and decorations. 

“[The theme] was perfect, especially for the art museum because MOCA already had fairy lights and trees lining the pavilion,” said junior Vikram Kolli, who is president of both the Class of 2023 and the Ring Dance Committee. Kolli’s job mostly entailed coordination with supporting businesses and class sponsors.

“Planning mostly fell on some of the class officers and members of the Ring Dance Committee as this is the ‘event’ of junior year,” explained Kolli. “To name a few, Kaitlyn Mounts and Anna Royse as our publicists, Bailey Lewis and Kenza Zitouni on committee, and of course myself and Ms. Leslie Gulak for logistics and execution. Also, we couldn’t have decorated without the help of our amazing sophomores!”

Food and drink accommodations for the dance consisted of a “sweet and savory” table with various treats including brownies, cookies, cupcakes, chicken tenders, and sandwiches. Donations came from both caterers and parents, as well as sophomore volunteers who served drinks: Lauren Wilmoth, Gabi Altinok, and Anthony Organt.

“We really appreciated the help of BoBo’s Fine Chicken for their fried chicken, and Baker’s Crust for their cookies. A group of parents also helped out, with the Crutchfield’s baking cupcakes and sweets and the Conklin’s bringing trays from Costco,” said Kolli.

Rosye, a class publicist and ring dance committee member, commented that she felt “like there weren’t that many members, so we all had to just do anything we could.” 

The Class of 2023 had a lack of support and guidance from seniors, due to the pandemic and virtual learning preventing last year’s dance. “It was hard getting everyone on the same page, and I think it was so hard to coordinate such a large event without having much support,” said Royse. “I feel like there is some sort of pressure to maintain all of the traditions, because we were the last class to experience it when it was normal.”

Royse believes fundraising and work distribution were main obstacles. “We missed two years prior for fundraising, so we started with a balance of zero.” One of the few fundraisers they had were the PA sweatpant sales. 

Fellow committee member Zitouni agrees, and hopes that next year’s ring dance committee will do what they failed to: “Definitely make sure that you have people you know who will take on responsibility. Have a system of accountability.”

As well as fundraising, ticket sales did not go as smoothly as hoped, despite the purchase due date being repeatedly extended. Royse said, “People still ended up buying their tickets at the most expensive price during the last week [of ticket sales].”

“Once we started advertising it as a junior prom, then it actually opened things up to people,” explained Zitouni.

Zitouni believes that for next year’s dance “it would be really cool to have a student DJ.” There was a Google form sent out for students to request songs; however, none of these was acknowledged.

The location for the dance, the MOCA, was said to have been a good pick for its “classy” feel and for the discounts that were offered. “We were so unique compared to everyone else doing the dance at the aviation museum,” joked Zitouni.

Kolli believes that the spontaneous spirit of PA students was reflected in their determination and work ethic when it came to this year’s ring dance: “A key takeaway is that PA students love doing things last minute! It applies to the committee because of our scrambling to get food and catering within the last week, and the student body for buying 80 out of the remaining 200 tickets the day before ticket sales ended.”