A Night in Paradise: One More Attempt at a Magical Homecoming


Ximena Puig

Student Activities Director Ms. Suarez poses with her students at the last Coral Gables Senior High homecoming dance in 2017.

Chase Bagnall-Koger, News Editor

Despite the hype that high school homecoming dances receive in the media and the fond memories that former generations of Cavaliers have of their special night, recent attempts at promoting the dance have fallen flat.

Historically, homecoming has been held off-campus in high-end venues. Thus, homecoming has been expensive with tickets roughly priced at $65. However, the high ticket price seemed to discourage the students’ attendance in recent years. Due to the low attendance, the event was moved to the school gym where a smaller formal was held in 2017.

Although moving the event to the gym allowed Student Activities Director Ms. Suarez to lower the ticket price to $25, the school gym was noted to lack the allure of a nice, off-campus venue. The number of students who purchased tickets dwindled down, causing homecoming’s cancellation twice in the past four years. In 2018, less than 200 students out of the school population of over 3,500 purchased tickets to attend the dance.

This year the student council board is determined to make a change. Despite the lukewarm attitude toward the dance in previous years, they are working hard to bring the event back into the spotlight and make it an unforgettable comeback.

August Field

“When I had the privilege of being elected to serve on student council, I decided that this year we need to make a change and plan a homecoming that everybody could only imagine in their wildest dreams,” senior Alexander Sutton said.

One of the most drastic ways that the student council board plans to do this is by moving homecoming off-campus for the first time in several years. Instead of the school gym, the student council board has rented the ballroom in the Donna Shalala Student Center at the University of Miami.

The idea of holding homecoming at the University of Miami allows for a practical, yet beautiful setting for the much-anticipated event. The 2019 dance will be Gables’s “last attempt” at gifting the student body ‘A Night in Paradise,’ and the student council board behind the project is determined to not let it fail.

“We moved homecoming off-campus because the main complaint we had heard in previous years was that people did not want to buy tickets because it was held in the gym,” senior Kristen Sosa said.

The theme—’A Night in Paradise’—allows students to be creative with their fashion choices as there is no set theme. While the word paradise may be reminiscent of a tropical getaway, the venue hints at formality, making the homecoming dance a semi-formal event. While the details of the night are still in the works, they are undoubtedly being meticulously planned during the student council officers’ student activities class period.

The location of the dance isn’t the only issue that was tackled. To lower the cost of the ticket, members of student activities have agreed to participate in fundraising efforts. Each member is responsible for selling $60 worth of chocolate bars to offset the costs of decorations.

Due to their persistent efforts, the ticket price for homecoming will remain at a remarkably low price of $30. This reduced price is only five dollars more than the $25 tickets that were sold in 2018 for a homecoming that was to be held in the school gym and the cheapest that tickets have ever been for an off-campus homecoming.

Mrs. Suarez and all student activities board members are also providing one more incentive for students to buy a ticket; if it was not enough that a $30 dollar ticket will buy students a fun-filled evening at homecoming, every 50th ticket-buyer will get to pie a member of student activities in the face. If all 400 tickets are sold, the student that buys the 400th ticket will be granted an opportunity to pie Ms. Suarez’s face.

In doing this, they hope not only to sell all 400 available tickets, but also inspire the student body of Gables to display their Cavalier pride by attending the dance.

With the rigorous academics and sports schedules, most students are always preoccupied at Gables. It is important to take events like the 2019 homecoming as a reminder that while there may be things that divide us as a student body—like academies, classes, extra-curricular activities, and sports—we are all Cavaliers first. We are more than the classes we take and the magnet programs we so proudly take part in. We are Coral Gables Senior High and this homecoming dance is a reminder of that.

“If it matters to you, I hope that you buy a ticket,” Student Activities Director Ms. Suarez said.

The dance will be held on Nov 2. in the most central area of the University of Miami campus, which overlooks Lake Osceola. Students of all grades are welcome to share in the fun of what is sure to be a beautifully decorated and carefully planned event just for them. Be sure to buy your homecoming ticket on Sept. 25 and 26 in room 9219.

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