Freshmen mingle at Heart Hop before cafeteria demolition

Students crowd the cafeteria for the annual freshman Valentines Dance. The  cafeteria is festooned with decorations.

Students crowd the cafeteria for the annual freshman Valentine’s Dance. The cafeteria is festooned with decorations.

Amy Liu, Staff Writer

Enormous pink paper hearts covered the cafeteria walls as freshmen crowded around the dance floor for the annual Valentine’s Day Dance.

“The Heart Hop is one of those signature freshmen events that lets the whole grade build community and have a fun night,” Dean of Students Stephen Popp said. “It provides a chance for freshmen to get to know each other better.”

The dance, held Feb. 9 from 7:30 to 10:30, was sponsored by the school, planned by parents and chaperoned by teachers. It was one of the last events held in the Arnold Student Center before the cafeteria was closed for impending construction.

“The parents did a spectacular job creating a fun, festive environment,” Popp said. “They plan the theme, ideas and decoration from way back in the fall.”

Parents contributed by setting up decorations Friday night and preparing refreshments.

“The food was really good,” freshman Claire Melcher said. “I’m so impressed by the parents’ cooking.”

Students had the opportunity to take photos at the entrance. Large feather boas, heart-shaped glasses and other accessories were available to wear for a photo booth set up in the cafeteria.

“Other than the photo booth, there could have been more activities to do besides going out on the dance floor,” Mechler said.

In previous years, hula hoops and other activities have been set up outside for students who choose not to dance. This year, inclement weather limited these diversions.

“Some years it’s really warm, but this year, it was down in the 40’s,” Popp said. “I’m not sure if anyone wanted to get outside the room.”

In addition to a raffle for free giveaways of iTunes gift cards and money, students enjoyed the privilege of requesting songs to be played.

“The music was a lot better than I expected, and the DJ actually took many of the suggestions from us,” freshman Annie Ren said. “There was a good mix of pop, rap and slow songs.”

Freshmen appreciated having one special night reserved for their own grade.

“If you look at sophomores, juniors and seniors, they have cotillion and prom,” freshmen Class President Matthew Fastow said. “It’s worth it for ninth grade to have its own dance as well.”