Traditions at Pres have always seemed engraved in the rich history of girls in plaid before us, set to withstand the winds of change. However, the beloved tradition of the Black and White Charity Ball recently experienced a shift in date, a choice that had everyone wondering if it was the right decision. So far, the Pres community has had a positive outlook toward this date change.
According to CI Director Lindsay Swoboda, Black and White does not occur on the same weekend each year. Program directors meet during second semester to discuss the calendar events for the coming year. For a time, Black and White actually occurred in December. For the past six years, however, the charity ball has been in October or November, and currently over 700 students attend.
The decision to move the dance resulted from a scheduling conflict with a concert and a Bellarmine retreat during the weekend. “Bellarmine and Presentation are both really strong partners of Sacred Heart, so we both wanted the dance to be successful, and if the numbers were lower this year because of the retreat and the concert, that’s going to affect the amount of money we can give Sacred Heart, and we’re not ok with that,” said Swoboda.
“What’s really important about it is that it raises money,” continued Swoboda. “So it’s not just a normal mixer or normal formal dance. It’s raising money for a really good cause, and all those donations go to Sacred Heart.”
Swoboda added that 99% of the money helps Sacred Heart. That amount normally ends up around $30,000.
The dance is not only integral to Sacred Heart, but also to the Presentation community as a whole. Swoboda said that the dance is a time for all class levels to come together and bond with fellow students.
Furthermore, no matter the date, students can have fun while raising money for a charitable cause. CI Officer Shannon Miranda said, “I like the idea of raising funds for our community through such an enjoyable way.”
The date change has had different impacts in the Presentation community. Black and White committee member Sabrina Tian said, “I think the only thing it’s changed is the theme . . . the theme before was Under the Sea when it was in October, but since now it’s closer in the winter, we thought it would be more appropriate to have the theme be Winter in New York.”
Junior Sahana Swaminathan said, “I might buy a more festive dress because it’s near Christmas. I might buy something red or green.”
Other students don’t really care when the dance is, as long as Pres hosts it. “The time of year doesn’t really make a difference to me,” Miranda said. “I just want it to be held because this is the only opportunity for us to have a formal.”
Even though some may dislike the change in tradition, Black and White’s purpose still remains the same. Swoboda said, “Ms. Catalan and myself have worked really hard with students to make it a really fun experience, so that more and more students want to go . . . no matter what, you have a place at Black and White, and it’s just a fun night to enjoy yourself.”