The Student News Site of Taipei American School




RIP Back to school dance


If you had for some reason wandered into the cafeteria at 7pm on the first Friday of school last year, you would have seen a strange scene. A clump of pizza-eating freshmen and new students awkwardly milling about with their arms crossed. Outside, a few sophomores playing the Zoo Game, and ten seniors looking very lonely on the massive dance floor.

Such was the Back to School Dance, planned and executed by the seniors each year. Each year, there were new themes and games in attempts to boost interest; limbo, juice drinking competitions, Peanuts movies. Unfortunately, sports matches dominated Friday nights, drawing a large portion of the student body away from the dance. Attendance remained low, and activities were generally unspectacular (bar one particularly memorable rap battle in 2015 featuring Paul Chang spitting fire at freshmen).

This year, the new StuGov officers decided that it was time for a change. The Back to School BBQ combined a welcome back event with the sports events going on simultaneously and the Athletic Department’s Tiger Grill, popular for its delicious burgers and hot dogs. StuGov organized a screening of the classic High School Musical in the courtyard, with the goal being to create a relaxed event that could act as a complement to sports games instead of competing with them as in past years. Rose H. (11), Stugov Activities Officer, explained that StuGov intended to create a casual, drop-in atmosphere with an event that was “chill, laid-back, and fun.”

The contrast between the BBQ and previous dances was stark; by allowing people to come and go as they wished, StuGov’s Back to School BBQ gave off a friendly vibe and attracted a decently-sized crowd of passionate HSM fans. The cheers, singing, and whoops resonating from the courtyard at 7pm on that Friday night were worlds away from the sullen silence of Back to School Dances.

That’s not to say the Back to School BBQ was a perfect event; the attendance could have been higher, and it was a comparatively small-scale event. Nevertheless, it provided an enjoyable experience for all guests  and a strong foundation for StuGov to build on in the coming years. Where the continued expansion of the BBQ will go, nobody knows, but one thing is for sure: the Back to School Dance, a long-running but little-known TAS tradition, is no more.

Rest in peace, back to school dance (??-2016). You’ve been replaced by something far better.

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