Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Party of the Year

Last night was a bittersweet one for me. For the last five years, I taught (math) in the the JROTC academy at my old School. JROTC is a fantastic program, and they do tons of cool activities with the kids, one of which is the annual Military Ball.

This was my fourth and final one--I had a blast, but it's sad knowing it was my last. My kids are seniors now. They planned this, they were the ones sitting at the head table, etc. I won't really know next years kids, and it won't be the same.

My favorite Division 146 girls
But enough of the weepy stuff...Military Ball is SO FUN.

It's held at a cheesy banquet hall (this one was actually pretty nice)
They include the centerpieces the last one our package included the wedding cake (?!), so it was in the middle of the dance floor. Colonel cut it with a saber.

Military Ball can be described as a cross between Boy Scouts & the Prom. The girls wear dresses, the boys (the ones that are in JROTC and not dates) wear their uniforms. The evening starts off with the saber team marching in. They do a little formation thing, and then line the sides of the dance floor (to the left and right in the photo above). Then the MC announces each member of staff (those are the student leaders) and their dates. Each of them has a different rank, and so the sabers do a different twirling* motion. For the Battalion Commander, they do their thing and then all bow down. It's pretty awesome. And I knew a lot of the kids being introduced and sitting at the head table this year, which was fun.

Anyhow, then the saber team goes back to attention, and the Color Guard posts colors (I love posting colors--its a cool military ritual, and our kids are really good--they've done it at Cubs games and everything). Then, in all our formal wear, we say the pledge of allegiance and someone sings the Star Spangled Banner. After that is dinner, which is just, you know, high school dance dinner, and then they announce royalty.

My awesome friend & also former coworker did the announcing, and I did the presenting. This should mean I got the easy job, since I basically hand things out. But there are four tiaras (one for each level), 3 scepters, a crown and then sashes too for the king & queen.
But four slightly different sets
 And everything is taped and plastic-ed together within an inch of its life. Which we didn't realize until she read the first name and I could tell that tiara was never coming out. Which was ok, because I was about to give the LET 2 tiara to the LET 1 princess just as soon as I could set that sucker free. Oops. Also, I do not have a future in tiara placement. I was worried about messing up hair and I couldn't figure out where it should go, and so I mostly just plopped it on their head with a worried look on my face. Some photo op I make (and some mom made me re-tiara her daughter--I tried to look less concerned for that one). The sashes at least I've got down, thanks to beauty pageant themed Sorority rush party back in the day. And scepters are easy. 

We even got JROTC coins in recognition of our help, and the student speaker gave me a shout out in his speech ("Like Ms. C, who is over there eating her ice cream!"--awkward!). Then the dancing started up--probably not like any dances you go to, as the music that's the biggest draw is Bachata, a Puerto Rican dance music.

Anyhow, it was a blast, it was fantastic to see so many of my students, I miss them like crazy, and now I can't wait to see them again when they (OMG how did this happen) graduate.

*I bet what you do with a saber should not be called twirling. But whatever.

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