By Hannah Raslan

Staff Writer

Acalanes pays a lot of money to finance the senior ball every year. This year the planning committee went above and beyond their usual ballroom venue to ensure students had a great time.

Students were bussed off to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park–an exciting new venue that I expected to bring some fun to a day I was otherwise dreading.

However, after the long trek into the depths of San Francisco, I did not find the experience I was looking for, nor do I think it was worth the money.

First of all, in an attempt to bring the senior class together for ball pictures, the leadership class tried to do away with the usual social group oriented pre-ball pictures. They planned an all inclusive picture-taking fest at the Moraga Commons for “class pictures” so that “we can experience ball as a class together,” as quoted from a leadership student’s post in the Class of 2015 Facebook page.

I completely support this idea. It seems like a great way to try and bring the Class of 2015 some unity, which we definitely lack this year. However, most ball attendees planned pre-Moraga Commons pictures within their groups of friends, which defeated the purpose of bringing everyone together for pictures. And in the end, many kids didn’t end up attending the pre-ball fest at the Moraga Commons at all.

Then, like usual, Acalanes students were forced to take buses from Acalanes at around 5 PM to the dance venue. While most schools allow students to find their own way to their prom or ball, Acalanes busses students because, according to Principal Allison Silvestri, it is safer.

“We are able to supervise students. Most of the problems that happen at ball typically happen on the way to ball. Once people leave the confines of their parents’ homes and get into a car, lots of things can take place,” said Silvestri. “They can go to lots of different places and do lots of different things that they probably shouldn’t do before the event.”

However, it didn’t seem like the hour long bus ride substantially dampened students’ ability to do drugs. Once I started walking around at Ball, and even just talking to people on the bus ride over, it became clear that numerous attendees were high, mostly from smoking weed or taking edibles.

“I got high before ball because I thought it would be more fun that way,” a female Acalanes student said, requesting her name be withheld due to the illegality of her actions. “A lot of people I saw–as well as a lot of my friends–were stoned.”

This didn’t really surprise me. Certain high school students will inevitably smoke weed. It just seems silly to me that the school fundraises for three and a half years to plan an extravagant and expensive event that some attendees won’t remember clearly. If students are going to be extremely out of it, which seemed to be the case for many, why not save money and rent out a local ballroom?

This year, two students were suspended for being on drugs at ball, because they were so high that they got physically sick. One threw up into the water in the aquarium.

Last year, no disciplinary cases came out of ball. So this year’s more expensive and extravagant ball may have just lent itself to more issues and more stoned kids.

While the California Academy of Sciences was interesting and vibrant, it may not be the best place for hundreds of black-tie teens to spend four long hours.

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