(COVINGTON, La.) — Under the lights of the Briggs Assembly Center, sophomores and upperclassmen donned jerseys and soccer cleats for the Back to School Dance in a show of late-summer defiance to the whirlwind of studying and essays knocking on their doorstep. The Back to School Dance, which took place on August 10th, is an annual event held at St. Paul’s School in which students dress up according to the dance theme and enjoy a night of loud music and mosh pits. This moment of laid-back, care-free fun is soon interrupted by studying and homework, but while it lasts it takes form as a platform for all the school to say goodbye to the summer break and hello to the curriculum ahead.
Each year, while sophomores wear clown noses and juniors dress in tennis shorts, seniors strip away their Cars 2 bedsheets and don golden wreaths, an homage to the National Lampoon’s 1978 Animal House, as well as the classical societies of Athens and Rome (DISCLAIMER: Cars 2 bedsheets are absent from both the film Animal House and the classical societies of Athens and Rome). No matter the theme, the toga and wreath are always the attire of the senior class.
The practice of wearing bedsheets as togas often appears at colleges, harking back to the intellectualism of ancient Greece and education as a whole. The first toga party was held by Franklin D. Roosevelt himself in 1934, cementing the wearing of bedsheets as an all-American event. St. Paul’s participation in this tradition shows the school’s ongoing commitment to make all of its students college ready, even when it comes to dances.
Regardless of the collegial, American history of toga-wearing, the toga tradition at St. Paul’s is a constant and inspiring event for all classes.
Student Council President Josh Rovira said, “I think it’s something fun to look forward to from 8th grade and on; it gives everyone something to expect
and attach to the Back To School Dance since the themes always change.”
The toga tradition at St. Paul’s is a constant reminder for underclassmen of their place in the fraternal world of St. Paul’s school, giving personality to the senior class, the metaphorical older brothers of the underclassmen. The tradition brings history to the Back to School Dance and is a beacon for all underclassmen to look forward to and enjoy.
Additionally, the toga tradition means a lot to the seniors themselves. High school at St. Paul’s is a memorable experience: one of brotherhood, of tough classes, of friendship. As the years wind down, people look to senior year as a triumphant march throughout: a time of academic glory and of bittersweet memories. The toga tradition is the first special thing that the senior class participates in, separating their experience from all of the other grades. It reinforces how special the event is, symbolic of how special senior year is in general.
No doubt, the toga tradition at the Back to School Dance will persevere for years to come, a reminder of the history that St. Paul’s not only participates in, but actively celebrates.