This past spring, Joe Kennedy’s comical campaign speech won over the majority of the student body, culminating in a decisive Social Chair victory — now, a full month into the school year, his first big event is complete.
Joe spent a good portion of the summer and school year meticulously researching, financing, and visiting possible Homecoming venues, and with the dance finally over, he’s off to a great start. It’s important to consider that, in 2016, Joe was freshman grade rep and one of only eight total student government members. His experience in that position, back when there was only one grade rep for each class, enabled him to learn a lot about the student government process.
As Michael Meagher, Junior Prefect and one of Joe’s peers in Student Gov, said about his role as Social Chair, “Joe is, so far, an amazing fit for the position. He’s learning quickly, learning while on the job. I have the utmost faith in him. Our student body is in great hands. He was on student gov back when it was a lot smaller, when he had more work to do, and carried that knowledge all the way to his junior year – he definitely knows what he’s doing.”
The venue Joe ultimately decided upon for homecoming was a 6,000 square foot indoor lounge and event space named Evoke, located in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood. The space is brand new, only having officially opened last June. It’s also worth noting that they are partnered with Brix Catering, and as a result, they have a reputation for amazing food.
As their website claims, “Brix Catering is a dynamic team combining the skills of a classically trained Chef, Sommelier, and Event Planner to ensure your next event is spectacular from start to finish.”
It’s clear that Joe feels the same way, as he described Evoke as having “great lights, wild speakers, and really good food.”
One thing that was notably different about this year’s Homecoming was its start and end times. As you probably noticed, the 2018 dance was from 7:00pm – 9:00pm, the doors closing to students an hour after it started. This is a significant difference from last year’s end time of 10:00.
As Joe explained about the alterations, “there’s not much of a point in paying for an extra hour of the venue if everybody leaves before nine anyway. I really want to change the culture around staying for as little time as possible, and encourage everyone to show up at seven and stay for the whole time.”
This seems like a very reasonable change to have been made, as it allows for a nice space like Evoke to fall within the limits of Latin’s budget. Another positive change Joe made was offering tickets at the discounted price of $10, just for the first day of sales, which allowed students who weren’t able to fork up $20 to affordably purchase tickets as well.
Some Latin students may feel as though the dance at Lakeshore Fitness Club paled in comparison to two years ago’s at Studio Paris Nightclub. This year’s venue hoped to create a compromise between students, who want a fun venue for their dance, and parents, many of whom were uncomfortable with the inevitable connotations of a high school dance at a nightclub. The presence of a bar or alcohol at various venues was actually Joe’s biggest challenge when deciding on a space, since the majority of Chicago’s event spaces are aimed towards people of legal drinking age. However, after several discussions with the people running Evoke, and a talk with Mr. Greer, Brix Catering was talked into clearing their bar out of any alcohol, and thus Evoke was deemed by the school an appropriate venue for a high school dance.
It appears as though this idea of a ‘compromise’ between the previous venues was fulfilled, as when I talked to a group of students who preferred to remain anonymous, they joked that “This year’s dance was totally better. Granted, basically anything would have been better than Lakeshore.”
Another student, Sophomore Lily Prostic, also offered her thoughts on the relative success of the dance. “Last year’s Hoco was, for me, too crowded. I think the space [Lakeshore] was used inefficiently, whereas this year this was plenty of room. I wish they had better drinks, though. If I wanted La Croix, I’d get one out of my fridge.”
In addition to the work he has put in for Homecoming, Joe is already thinking about other ways of increasing school spirit in the student body. “I want to hold a pep rally for every season, not just in the fall,” he said.
Increased pep rallies would hype people up for every sport, and not just the ones that happen to take place in the fall season. Besides, pep rallies are just a really fun time for students to get together as a group and raise excitement levels for the many athletic programs. This past pep rally was a huge success, MC’d for the most part by Junior Prefect Michael Meagher. It featured, for the first time a half-court basketball challenge for free homecoming tickets. Michael DiCostanzo thrilled the crowd by hitting the shot, albeit on his second attempt.
Olivia Syftestad, class of 2021, provided some input on the fall pep rally: “Overall, I think the pep rally was really creative and fun. The games were exciting, and I think it was smart to schedule it as a conclusion to the school day, since it was something to look forward to. The only issue was that it was really short and felt somewhat rushed, so people didn’t really get super spirited in the end.”
Joe, as well as the rest of student government, promise to consider the results of this past pep rally when planning those for the winter and spring seasons. Joe has also already begun the process of reaching out to venues for prom, despite it still being many months away. He hopes to gather feedback from Homecoming and incorporate that into his ideas for prom. Considering the amount of work he put in for homecoming, it’s fair to assume that prom will be of a similar or, hopefully, even better quality.