Harvest Ball planned Oct. 16 at high school

The Massena Central High School Harvest Ball will be held on the school’s turf field on Oct. 16. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — As some members of the Massena Central High School student body had requested, the school will be holding a Harvest Ball in mid-October.

However, a request by students to “stray away” from Chromebooks in the classroom is not happening at this point.

Logan Dobbins, student representative to the district’s board of education, had told board members that a survey of students that he and an English teacher conducted indicated that they wanted to resume dances at the school.

“We got 189 responses for any ideas this year, and the big thing the student body wants is for dances to continue this year. I know with COVID policies, this is going to be tough, but most of the students would like this,” he said.

He said the students had specifically indicated that they would like the Homecoming Dance, also called the Harvest Ball, to be held.

“They would like to see this happen, and they just want to ensure that it will be able to,” Mr. Dobbins said.

Board President Paul Haggett said the issue needed to be addressed through the chain of command, starting with high school Principal Alan Oliver. In a video message to parents last week, Mr. Oliver said the Harvest Dance and social event would be taking place from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 16 on the school’s turf field.

“We are having a Harvest Dance this year. This was an interesting and confusing thing that went on. There was somewhat of a movement among the kids that we weren’t intending to do this, which was never true. We were just sort of working through what we could do and in the end we ended up doing a Harvest dance on Oct. 16 from 8 to 10:30. And, in order to avoid any sort of COVID entanglements, we’re going to do it out on the turf field,” Mr. Oliver said.

He said another event was circulating in the community that appeared to be a “homecoming or a harvest kind of dance.”

“This event was put on by the kids who thought we weren’t going to have one and kind of got ahead of us on it. I apologize for that because obviously they felt as though we weren’t going to do it. I do sincerely feel bad for them. But, at this point, we want to make sure that folks know that the other event that’s happening in a local establishment has nothing to do with the school. It’s nothing sponsored with the school. It’s nothing that we are supporting in any way, shape or form. So, I just want to let folks know that the Harvest Dance at the school on the turf is the real Harvest Dance for the fall, and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody there,” Mr. Oliver said.

He said he believed the cost would be $10, or $5 if the student brought a canned good, and tickets would be available in the high school main lobby.

“So we’re looking forward to getting our kids together and doing something fun at the start of the year,” he said.

During the school board’s meeting, Mr. Dobbins also said students “want the curriculum to stray away from Chromebooks.”

“We’re back five days a week. They don’t believe that we need to use Chromebooks constantly. They feel as though we do not need to sit in front of a screen every single period of the day,” he said.

“That is something that Mr. Oliver and Mr. Brady (Superintendent Patrick Brady) and the director of curriculum perhaps would be involved in, in terms of coming to a decision,” Mr. Haggett said.

In his video message, Mr. Oliver said they had enough chargers and Chromebooks to ensure every high school student had one “to be successful.”

Those who don’t have Chromebooks were advised to go to the library for assistance.

“We’re also preparing a cart of Chromebooks that are there as sort of emergency backups in case the kid’s is dead or they leave it at home,” he said. “So, I think finally our Chromebook issues are solved and I again thank both staff and families alike for your patience as we work through this. So, we should be good to go as of this moment.”

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