Story by Mabry Griffin '18
People are calling dibs on dates, students have to dodge the sharp corners of posters as they walk from class to class, and there is an unusual amount of baked goods flying about the Close. Is it Valentine's Day, you ask? No. It's #HocoSzn. And this year it comes with a twist.
In an email chain with the NCS Academic Dean Mr. Harger, Exchanged Staff confirmed the rumors that the NCS and STA administration have just recently decided to allow all members of the NCS upper school community to attend St. Albans' formal homecoming dance. Yes, that is correct. Just like NCS homecoming and the STA mixer, all cathedral close upper school students will be allowed to attend.
The controversy over this new policy can be found in the STA student body feeling as though their voice and opinions were not taken into full consideration when making this decision. Mannan Mehta ‘18, a former prefect, elaborated on this by saying, "Last year the student council talked about the idea of having all of NCS invited to homecoming, and the idea was immediately shut down by every grade prefect at the meeting.” Head STA prefect, Joey Toker ‘17, confirmed Mehta’s statement, by affirming that “The Student Council has zero role in (this) decision”. It is clear that the STA and NCS administration made this decision independently, and did not consult the student elected leaders who typically plan social events on campus such as homecoming.
While the main instigator for this policy is being kept private, students are publicly taking their own stances on the recent adjustment. Many are worrying that this allowance of NCS girls attending homecoming without a date will translate into the boys of St. Albans being less likely to continue the tradition of asking them, resulting in less interaction between the students on either side of the Close than is common in past years come October.
Some retaliation has also risen in the form of, "but why does the NCS Winter Formal still require you to be asked if you attend St. Albans?" The NCS faculty gave a shocking answer: it doesn't. Many rumors over the years have culminated in an unwritten law between the two communities. For example: NCS girls aren't allowed in the STA library and vice versa. While it definitely counts as going against the grain if you choose Ellison Library as your new study spot, in the eyes of the faculty it is completely acceptable. Same goes for going to "WinFo" dateless if you are a STA guy. Apparently, St. Albans upper school students have always been allowed to come to the winter dance regardless of whether or not they have their name on the list. However, when asked about her knowledge of this STA WinFo policy, last year’s student WinFo chair, Sierra Turner ‘18, stated that “(she) didn’t know that”.
On the other hand, there is an equal number of students who fully support and are starting to embrace this new policy. An anonymous STA sophomore told Exchanged staff that he was excited for the new policy, because it would give STA freshmen another opportunity to “meet girls from across the close, without all the awkwardness of asking them out”. Prefect, Christian Potter ‘18, was also keeping a positive attitude toward the change when he stated, “regardless [of the student council’s absence in the decision], I hope to have a successful homecoming that everyone enjoys, and as a student council member, I'll do everything I can do to make that happen."