MIHS Sophomore Parents Working to ‘Take Back’ Homecoming

Stunned to learn that only 200 students actually stayed at the Mercer Island High School Homecoming dance, parent representatives Lisa Katsman and Vicki Pallis hatched a plan to “take it back”.

The parent representatives for MIHS’s class of 2015, charged with producing this weekend’s Homecoming Dance, were stunned to learn that last year some 850 tickets were sold, but only 200 students actually stayed at the dance.

So, parent representatives Lisa Katsman and Vicki Pallis hatched a plan to “take back” the dance.

The recent trend has been for large groups of friends to gather at one house before the dance, so parents can snap photos of the couples and groups. The students then hop into parent-driven cars or “party busses” and head off to dinner – usually something quick and reasonably priced. From there, they dash to the high school dance, where they use their tickets for professional photo shoots, and then they rush off to another house for an “after party,” which might last until 1 am.

“It just seems so insulting and disrespectful of the kids – and parents – who work so hard to put on the dance, when the kids don’t even stay,” says Katsman.

“Plus, it’s such a waste for the kids to not even attend, after spending so much money on their outfits, transportation and dinner,” Katsman continues. “Most girls spend $300-$500 on their dresses, shoes, hair, makeup and nails, and the guys probably spend at least $200 on dance tickets, shirts and ties, corsages, dinner and transportation – and that doesn’t include the cost of a suit.”

This year, Katsman and Pallis hope to “change the culture” and encourage students to stay at the dance for a few hours.

In additional to the usual giveaways (leis and glow-in-the-dark necklaces, this year) and DJ-controlled dance music, the duo plans to offer Hawaiian shaved ice and an air-guitar contest this year.

However, the biggest change – and enticement for students – is a series of door prizes, which will increase in value throughout the evening, Katsman explains.

So far, parents have donated a slew of gifts cards for local establishments including gas stations, coffee shops, sports stores and spas. One group of parents is trying to raise $1,000 for the final prize, which will be announced at 10:30 pm.


Julie Varon -John L. Scott Real Estate October 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Kudos to these ladies for trying to change the trend. I hope they are able to make a mark this year and get the message out. If there was a way to take it one step further I'd vote for discouraging the "group" thing. Unless you're quickly spoken for the answer will be "sorry the group is closed". Undo stress is put on the kids as it creates a popularity contest.
Deborah A October 18, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I think this is a great! Too much emphasis put on the "after party", and groups. By making the dance cooler, and having teenage appropriate music (by our adult standards, a cacophony!) I hope these ladies succeed. I too am stunned by how few kids stay at the dance and one of the reasons I've heard over the years is that the music is horrible. Whether this is true or not, I cannot judge, but it will be a step in the right direction to get more kids to actually stay at the school and dance!! Good luck ladies.
Kendall Watson October 18, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I often wondered how much students might be interested in having an on-floor dance instructor (or "DI", as my wife's family and friends enthusiastically/mockingly say). These are really popular at some weddings I've been to over the years and I thought it might transfer over in popularity to a younger audience. Maybe not. I was a HUGE fan of retro 50s dancing when I was younger and wondered why we couldn't have a more competitive but fun atmosphere on the dance floor, like a Mambo straight out of West Side Story — but it never worked out (I only found this in later life at specialized dance/jazz/swing clubs after I turned 21). Ah well.
T. October 18, 2012 at 10:18 PM
We got the "you never want to get this call" from the ER of a trauma hospital, because our daughter and 3 of her friends were admitted by ambulance, injured after being involved in a very serious vehicle accident. They were following the group "trend" of leaving the dance & driving off MI. Everyone survived the accident though the psychological effects continue to last. It's been the "trend" for too many years now...its time to try to understand and change the pattern of behavior.
Kendall Watson October 18, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Thanks for sharing this story about these dangers, T. Mercer Island Patch has made a commitment to follow the issue of underage drinking and drug use on Mercer Island by joining the Communities That Care coalition. We will do our best to keep these issues in public view — while retaining our objectivity — and try to foster a discussion of what constitutes a healthy community.
T. October 18, 2012 at 10:56 PM
To be clear, in the vehicle accident mentioned above, there were absolutely no alcohol or drugs of any kind involved by the MI children.
Kendall Watson October 18, 2012 at 11:02 PM
My apologies for any appearance that I was linking the two. That was absolutely not my intent. I was connecting more with your last sentence, a general statement that "It's been the "trend" for too many years now...its time to try to understand and change the pattern of behavior", and connecting that in my mind with news reports from the past several years where drinking was involved when local teens went to "afterparties" without a designated driver. Again, my sincere apologies. -KW


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »