Mask-erading at Midnight: Senior Gala 2021

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Sondos Elbershawi

SINGING THE NiGHT Away: Attendees sing their hearts out at the karaoke station.

Rachel Yokota, Staff Writer

High heels and dress shoes click on the stone floor as seniors step into the courtyard. Excited voices float in the evening air as students rush to greet greatly-missed friends. For the first time in a year, seniors from both cohorts were able to mingle on May 22 during the Senior Gala, though 6 feet apart and behind masks.

“A lot of my friends were in cohort A so I hadn’t seen them since quarantine started,” senior Nicole Torres said. “So when I finally saw them at the gala I got so happy and I came back home with the biggest smile. It was by far the best day of the year.”

After checking in and crossing a red carpet, seniors rocked to the beat of popular hits such as “driver’s license” and “All Star.” While dancing was not permitted, seniors could step up and sing their hearts out in karaoke with the help of two DJs. Around the Student Activities Center (SAC) courtyard, seniors gathered around casino tables to play games of poker, blackjack and craps with professional dealers. Other activities set up around The Oak included arcade racing games, air hockey, foosball and video games such as “Super Smash Bros.” At a halo photo booth with two hand-painted backdrops, seniors smiled and posed for photos. A caricature artist also was present to sketch drawings of seniors.

“I loved seeing everyone dressed up, though it’s definitely different than other dances with the masks and with it being at school and outside,” senior Lauren Greenberger said.

Unlike previous years, food was not provided to ensure that masks stayed on, though small water bottles were handed out during the event. While students were allowed to briefly go inside the Media Center to collect yearbooks, they were asked to stay in the area around the SAC courtyard and The Oak. These changes were overseen by the junior class council, who were in charge of planning the gala with president Shan Syed and vice president Yun Seo Lee at the head. The junior class council held weekly meetings to discuss ideas for the gala, which were finalized by Northwood administration.

“We tried our best to plan around the fluctuating COVID-19 guidelines and still give seniors a night to remember,” Lee said. “The uncertainty has been difficult but we were able to plan an on-campus gala with twice the amount of activities and just as much fun as any other year.”

As the dance came to a close, the junior class council announced seniors Abhinav Dinesh and Ashley Weimer as the King and Queen of the Gala Court among the 10 nominees.

Seniors are now looking forward to Grad Night which will be held on June 3 and organized by Northwood PTSA.

“I’m so happy that the school was able to host something for the seniors before we head off,” senior Kaitlin Miranda said.