Students were able to relax amidst a busy semester on 12 November, 2015, at the annual Semi Formal dance. It was run by the Social Committee, headed by SAC member Hisham Yusuf. The event officially began at 5:30 pm, and lasted until 10:45 pm.
Though the Social Committee is headed by a SAC member, most of the students involved in planning the event are not in SAC. At least twenty students were involved in making the event happen.
This year’s official theme was Semi Formal: A Night of Stars. To emphasize the theme, the first hour of the night was known as Paparazzi Hour. Students walking into Celebrations Banquet Hall were greeted with a long red carpet. SAC arranged for there to be several photographers positioned along the red carpet, snapping photographs of students walking in. Hisham said that this was done to set the atmosphere for the rest of the night, encouraging students to feel like they could live in the moment and enjoy.
200 tickets were needed to break even, and this year, 240 tickets were sold. This year, early bird tickets were sold for two days, and were priced at $32. Those who purchased an early bird ticket were also given priority seating. After that, tickets were sold for $35. To encourage more students to come to semi, the committee decided to include a chocolate fountain into the menu.
The DJ at this year’s Semi Formal was Special K. He was also the DJ for the 2015 Athletic banquet last June, and got several positive reviews.
Having promised better music for the dance, SAC released a Google Sheets form several days before the 12th to allow students to place their song requests. However, since the sheet was completely open for anyone to access, anonymous users were deleting the requests of other students. To solve this issue, the form was altered so that students could only submit requests, and not change other’s requests.
The night before the dance, SAC released a video on social media entitled “Four things you should know about Semi Formal—Teaser.” Garneau’s Video Production Club filmed a short clip that gave students an overview of the night.
Dinner was served buffet style, and was also a drink bar that served pop. Many students looked forward to dessert, which featured a chocolate fountain.
Students generally liked the event. Jayden McIntyre, a Grade 11 student who attended Semi Formal, said that her favourite part “was seeing that everyone was having a good time”. She also said that “there was a nice vibe” to the whole night. However, she was somewhat disappointed in the techno remixes in the music.
Though the night was generally perceived to be a success, both Hisham and Bianca, the Vice President of the Social Committee, said that the dinner portion of the night could have been arranged more smoothly. They said that many students did not wait for their turn in line to get dinner, and the distribution of food took a long time.
This year, the social committee faced lot of pressure planning the event. Last year’s dance did not break even, causing SAC to lose a substantial amount of money in covering the missing costs. Generally, students were also unimpressed with the food and music of 2014’s dance. This year’s dance was advertised as the “new and improved” Semi Formal, with promises of a better DJ, venue, and food.
Bianca said, “This year, we wanted to make it amazing, to earn back the reputation that we lost last year.” She continued to elaborate on the issues involved with planning. To encourage students to come to the event, more money needs to be spent on elaborate decorations and food. However, the more money that is spent, the more tickets need to be sold. Though there is this delicate balance in planning the event, the committee decided to take a larger risk and invest in a nicer venue. “We invested into the venue and put all our hope into the success of the advertising and campaigning, and it worked! Honestly, that was a huge relief.”