SGA to host new Charity Month dance Feb. 11


Vassili Prokopenko

The “Cupid Shuffle” will take place from 7:30-11:30 p.m. and feature student DJs, a photo booth, raffles, food and games. 

By Ines Foscarini

The SGA will host a new Valentine’s Day dance in the gym on Feb. 11 to raise funds for Charity Month. The “Cupid Shuffle” will take place from 7:30-11:30 p.m. and feature student DJs, a photo booth, raffles, food and games. 

The Charity Month dance will be the first to take place in the school’s gym since Vike-A-Thon in February 2020. Attendees must adhere to a dress code of “lovey-dovey date night” to fit the dance’s theme and may only bring small hand-held bags for personal items. Unlike previous dances in the gym, the lights will be switched on during the Feb. 11 event. 

The rebranded dance comes nearly a year after Principal Robert Dodd and the SGA canceled Vike-A-Thon after a Black & White opinion writer reported on a culture of sexual assault, underage hookups, substance abuse and harassment at the event. The allegations were concerning to administrators and alerted them of safety concerns within the school, Dodd said.  

“Going into this [dance], I think we’ve learned a lot,” Dodd said in an interview. “We’re going to work on doing everything we can to ensure that kids are safe.”

Student leaders see the dance as an opportunity to offer students a new and exciting mid-year event, said SGA member Addy Singer, a senior. Tickets cost $25, with all proceeds benefiting Shepherd’s Table, a local nonprofit that provides meals to those suffering from food insecurity and poverty. 

“They can do a lot of good with a large donation,” said SGA member Bronwyn McNulty, a senior.

SGA leaders began planning the event in early December and worked with sponsors Kathleen Bartels and Michele Traficante, along with Dodd, to ensure that the dance had additional safety measures in place. Like previous school-sponsored events, students at the dance may bring dates who attend non-MCPS schools, but must obtain administrators’ approval beforehand. 

As the Cupid Shuffle draws near, some students aren’t sure if the dance will foster an environment similar to the rave-style atmosphere of Vike-A-Thon. 

“I’m glad that [Vike-A-Thon] ended because it didn’t create an enjoyable and safe atmosphere for people,” said one senior who attended the dance as a freshman. “I think this dance could be a good replacement for Vike-A-Thon in terms of fundraising for charity month, but I’m also hoping that the culture of the dance is different.”

Principal Robert Dodd told The Black & White that administrators would enforce behavior guidelines for students at the dance in accordance with the MCPS Code of Conduct, with a particular emphasis on alcohol and substance abuse. Additionally, the Montgomery County Police Department, MCPS security, staff chaperones and the school’s full administrative team will be on-site during the event, he said. 

“We expect that students will treat each other respectfully and in a supportive way so that there’s not any inappropriate behavior,” Dodd said. “We want everyone leaving here to have a good time plus be safe.” 

In past years, Vike-A-Thon raised more than $24,000, which was greater than the sum of all other Charity Month fundraisers combined. The SGA and administrators said that they approached this year’s dance with the intention of keeping students safe, but want to uphold the tradition of a dance for Charity Month. 

While fundraising remains the primary goal of the Shuffle, the environment surrounding the dance will be more lighthearted, according to McNulty.

“I think the Valentines Dance is a great alternative to Vike-A-Thon. It’s supposed to be cute and fun,” McNulty said. “If students attend the event, we can hopefully reach the same amount of funds generated from Vike-A-Thon while students have an enjoyable and safe night.”