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Northern Lights Winter Formal Recap!

College Prep approached December with grace; the campus’s outdoor walkways were showered by amber leaves, rain stained the buildings a rustic color, and with daylight savings, the sky was already a shimmery blue by dismissal. While we enjoyed this new winter feeling—making Swiss Miss in the cougar cafe, and basking in the cozy excitement of watching the rare California rainfall from classroom windows—we became weighed down by the anxiety of approaching finals. Spirit made the most of this opportunity to plan a dance to relieve student stress. Enthusiasm built over the week as Spirit presented amusing skits and emails, convincing everyone to buy tickets. We walked into the gymnasium on Saturday, December 3rd, which was revamped into the Northern Lights.

It was a ceaseless, chilly walk from the parking lot to the gym deck, an obstacle course of puddles and slipper patches of pavement. Shivering in dress straps the width of my fingertips, I braved this infernal walk with a friend as we hooked our arms together for warmth like Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain. When we arrived at the gym, I was delighted. I reached into my tallest tiptoes, an impatient attempt to try to catch a glimpse of the dance over the sea of heads of my peers and their guests. Ultimately, I was unsuccessful until I reached the front of the line, where my hand was first marked with a crescent shaped dash of Sharpie for admission and crossed a second time into an X after Chabon's “birthday candle” breathalyzer. Walking into the gymnasium, a sequence of green stars dotted with ultramarine blue was projected onto the ceiling, emulating the breathtaking Northern Lights. Students described the decorations as “impressive” and “enchanting."

Even though the dance floor was large, swallowing a good majority of the gym, it was always crowded with cackling groups of friends. We enthusiastically danced to songs that we would listen to through our earbuds as we walk around campus, songs repeatedly looped in our childhood, and even songs we have never heard before. When the chorus would come, gangly fists and legs would adjust into a circle, leaving a pocket of empty space in the center for whoever felt brave enough to perform a dance move. Everyone would cheer, even though we could not make people out beyond fuzzy shapes.

When the excitement of dancing expired, there were tables embellished by trays of mini cupcakes, macarons, and coolers of juice to regain energy. This cycle of dancing, eating, and talking continued until 10 PM, when the sky was smudged with charcoal. We shared a bittersweet goodbye, anticipating the next dance as we walked to our cars.

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