B-CC Students, Parents Hustle To Get Tickets To Sold-Out Homecoming Dance

B-CC Students, Parents Hustle To Get Tickets To Sold-Out Homecoming Dance

Principal says growing school enrollment could require limiting guest attendance in future

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Many students at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School carefully selected their outfits and their dates well in advance of Friday’s homecoming dance.

But as the day of the big event has approached, some students found that there were no tickets left, sending them into a last-minute scramble. Some parents also jumped into the fray.

“Does anyone have Home Coming tix they no longer need for a desperate 9th grader … ?” wrote one parent wrote in a B-CC listserv email. “[W]ill purchase from you – at almost any price.”

The parent ended the message, “Desperado”

The ongoing construction at B-CC forced the annual event off-campus this year, and the dance is instead taking place at Silver Creek Middle School in Kensington, said Derek Turner, a Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman.

While some argued the move meant fewer students could attend, Principal Donna Redmond Jones wrote to parents and students Thursday that space constraints are similar at B-CC and Silver Creek and that the number of tickets sold was comparable to past years. In the future, the school might have to reconsider rules about inviting outside guests, she wrote.

Messages left for the principal at school on Thursday weren’t returned, and Turner said he didn’t know how many dance tickets were available this year.

“As our school enrollment grows and the capacity of our gym remains the same, I will need to consider restricting guest attendance,” Jones wrote, referring to students’ dates. “I apologize to you (and our students) that I did not believe that restricting guests would be necessary for this school year.”

The student population of more than 2,000 is projected to climb by another 400 over the next five years. The school is currently getting an 88,000-square-foot addition to help deal with the expected growth.

B-CC parent Julie Crain said she wishes the school had done more to let parents and students know that tickets might run out. Her daughter, a sophomore, waited twice during her lunch period to buy one of the $20 tickets, but the lines were so long, she gave up. She was upset to learn Wednesday that all of the tickets had been snapped up.

“I was really angry,” Crain said. “If we knew there was a space issue, I would’ve had her buy it immediately.”

An online petition that circulated Thursday urged the school to admit more students to the event or host a winter dance that would be open to all. There were 38 names on the petition as of late Thursday afternoon.

The B-CC email listserv also was lighting up with conversation about the dance, with some parents suggesting that administrators move the dance to a high school, relocate it to a private venue or even put up a tent outdoors to accommodate more students.

Jones explained in her message that holding the dance at Walt Whitman or Walter Johnson high schools wasn’t possible because both have conflicting events planned for this weekend. B-CC administrators also looked for private schools without success, and renting a space wasn’t an option because the fundraising profits from homecoming help pay for the prom and graduation, she wrote.

“As a parent I understand that it hurts terribly to see your child disappointed,” she wrote. “Even as you express that frustration, I hope that you will understand a significant amount of time and planning by the students and staff did go into the dance, as well as into all of the Homecoming activities.”

Typically, a ticket can only be used by the student who buys it. But Jones said the school is making an exception that will allow students no longer interested in attending to give the ticket to another student, as long as the transfer happens with both students present in front of an administrator.

Guests from other schools who attend the B-CC dance must have a signed permission slip from the principal at their school. The principal must certify that the student is responsible and of good character.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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