It’s February again at Leesville, and murmurs of “Winterfest” are all over the school.
Students clamoring for information, joking about what they’ll wear, even a few prom-esque proposals: the usual.
One problem, though — Winterfest is nowhere to be found.
Winterfest, in the past, has been the school’s big February event. A late night party in the multipurpose room, it was a school dance that was special because underclassmen could attend; prom’s antithesis, of sorts. At one point, it even featured a talent show and an assembly.
But in 2015, it was canceled due to low attendance, and later brought back in 2020.
Shortly after 2020’s winter dance, Covid struck, and a year of mostly virtual classes and pandemic numbers rising meant the school’s annual open-to-all event didn’t happen the next year. 2020 was the first Winterfest in nearly four years, but the dance didn’t exactly make a triumphant return; the 2021-2022 school year won’t have a Winterfest either.
When asked about the choice not to have a dance this year, Kathryn Deary — senior and member of Leesville’s Executive Council — said, “We talked about it as a council, we kind of discussed pros and cons to it, and then, just the way the scheduling fell… it was just too late to plan an entire dance at that point, and we didn’t think it’d be a good idea with Covid.”
The decision makes sense. In a school year where Covid is still a pressing concern on everyone’s mind, is it really a good idea to hold a dance potentially populated by hundreds of students?
There are different emotions depending on grades. Deary, who attended Winterfest her sophomore year, said, “The underclassmen side of it, they want a dance a little bit more, and I think, you know, their last dance was in middle school, and it kinda impacts them negatively from the side that they just haven’t experienced a high school dance.”
Talking to sophomores around the school — the oldest students that haven’t experienced a Winterfest — there’s clearly some mixed feelings. Some seem a bit disappointed, bummed that they won’t get that experience but hopeful for a dance in their upper-class years. Some, of course, have no feelings at all on the subject; there were a few students who weren’t even aware the school had a dance.
The ones that had experienced it for themselves, the juniors and seniors, had a different point of view on things. “It is a little disappointing,” said Mary Mabry, a senior, “because they just started it back up my sophomore year, but honestly, people usually do their own thing for Winterfest.”
She’s right. Students around the school are already planning their own mini Winterfests, and there won’t be a dance attached, but that doesn’t mean students can’t have fun.
“A lot of people just go out to dinner and dress up and take pictures,” Mabry remarked.
That’s the plan for Colin Smith, a sophomore, looking to plan his own outing and get the experience of a dance for his first full year in-person at school. He said, “Before this year, all I knew was that Leesville did not have a specific in-school dance in the winter.”
He goes on to mention his own plans — “I’m getting a big group of friends together and we’re going to Brier Creek, probably gonna go to Frankie’s, get dinner, and just hang out, take pictures, and just have a good time with people!”
Smith isn’t the only one. Posts are already popping up on Instagram of students dressed up, smiling with their friends as they pose for pictures. Leesville students are nothing if not perseverant, and whatever happens to the dance itself, Leesville is sure to have a good time no matter what.
Hi! My name is Brendan Shore and I am a staff writer for The Mycenaean. I am an avid photographer and rock climber!