Winter Formal should be after finals January 16, 2016 — by Elizabeth Lee and Caitlyn Chen Permalink As last semester drew near to its end, students began to focus on studying for finals as dance commissioner started planning decorations for their biggest event of the semester, Winter Formal. Winter Formal, which was held on Dec. 5 at the Children’s Discovery Museum, was the only formal dance during the fall semester. Although it attracted a significantly larger crowd than in previous years, the fact that it was held two weeks before finals also discouraged more from attending. To increase attendance rates and encourage a more relaxed school culture, Formal should be held directly after finals so that students can spend a carefree night out with their friends without worrying about studying during Formal. In addition, some Saratoga parents discourage their children from going to Formal because they put academics as the students’ top priority, even before social activities at school. This change would relieve students from the pressure of their upcoming exams and also make the dance more lively and fun to attend. Not only would this change benefit students, but it would also help the dance commission members. In the weeks before the dance, commission members must spend dozens of hours on preparation, in addition to juggling schoolwork. Postponing the dance until after finals would permit them to designate all their time after school into just decorating and preparing for the event. In the past, dance commission members have felt the stress of planning a school dance while balancing their academic schedules. “Around finals [and] dead week, everyone has a lot of questions for teachers and last minute things to discuss during tutorials,” sophomore dance commissioner Lillian Zeng said. “But, since we're rushing to finish Formal decorations and plans, we have to sacrifice tutorials to do that instead.” Moving Winter Formal would allow the commissioners to spend more time to focus on just the dance without having to study as well, enabling them to increase the quality and experience of the event as a whole. The event could also be used as a way to destress and relax after a semester filled with worry and schoolwork, which in turn would align with the school’s mission to relieve student stress. Some may say that having Formal after finals would interfere with students’ vacation and family time, but most families prefer to wait a day or two before going out of town anyway. If Formal were held the Thursday or Friday night directly after finals, then the change wouldn’t affect ticket sales negatively. Another option would be to hold the dance in early January, but many students would prefer to have at least one formal dance during first semester.. If finals preceded the dance, more students would be willing to take time off for the event, thereby increasing ticket sales. Ultimately, this would both benefit the school’s budget through ticket sales and allow more students to attend Winter Formal.