What's your best idea for a high school social event
May 13, 2006 11:59 PM   Subscribe

So-- I go to boarding school. At my school, there's a senior position entitled Vice President of Social Life. I've already made it to the finals- just two candidates left. I have to give a speech on Tuesday. I was wondering if the MeFi community had any good ideas for social events to be held for a 9th through 12th grade high school.

We have pretty much all types of facilities (pool, gyms, arts centers, classrooms...), so space isn't an issue but ideas are.

For example, two of my best ideas to date are drive in movies and dive in movies... since everyone lives on campus, the former would involve setting up a big projector in the middle of our quad and bringing in blankets and sofas to watch a movie at night. The latter, the dive in movie, involves a projector and a pool- dim the lights, get inner tubes, watch Jaws...

But our social life also has lots of dances... good ideas for those are also helpful... basically, I want to know what you know, and any relevant information.
posted by daviss to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Battle of the bands, maybe? If there are enough people on campus that are musically oriented, this could be a pretty dope way to get people excited about an event - people will always go out to support their friends. I remember at my school they had a battle of the bands - nothing but punk bands, which was unfortunate, but it was still pretty cool.
posted by dihutenosa at 12:08 AM on May 14, 2006

Something that went over really well during my UWP tour were appreciation nights.

We had three of these:

* The first one was a surprise night organized by the students for the staff. We were going through quite a lot of stress (due to both external and internal factors) and we noticed that the staff were feeling it worst of all.

Under the guise of an "Open Mic", we invited the staff to watch - and we did short impersonations (so funny), one of us read a short letter for each staff member, and two students came up with a song.

We gave each staff member a rock - to signify that they were our "rocks", our support. I think we gave them candy too, but I don't quite remember. It was real fun; some were crying.

* The second one was sprung on us students as a surprise by the staff. We had a very full and taxing day (visiting a concentration camp, and then having a discussion about leadership in various countries, including talking about Hitler with a staff member whose grandparents were alive during Hitler's time), it was cold and snowy, and we were rather tired.

After dinner we were all told to head to the meeting room, quietly, in a group. "Uh oh, we're in trouble again." We got to the room; it was decorated with paper hearts and candles and pillows and there were plates of candy everywhere. Music was playing; it went to the "Elephant Love Song Medley" off Moulin Rouge and out of the blue, the staff members had paired up and were lipsynching to the song. SO FUNNY.

Our Program Manager talked to us a bit: he said that he knew we had gone through a lot lately, today especially, and they wanted to show us how much they appreciated us. He then told us to look at the paper hearts all around the room - they were individual messages to each of us from the staff members. My "heart" was written by a staff member I was particularly close with; it made me cry so much, because I was feeling lonely that week and that made things so much better.

We then all cuddled up to watch "Love Actually". Yay!

* The third one was a couple of weeks later, coinciding with a racklette dinner. Beforehand we asked everyone to choose 3-5 people, and then we'll pick one person from their list and ask them to write a letter to said person. (That got really confusing because we couldn't figure out the connections in time, but it worked out somehow!)

During the racklette dinner, one student (who was in charge of the weekly news presentations) did a funny presentation wrapping up our tour (this was the second-last week) and predicting our futures. We were kinda running out of time, so we did a Appreciation Lightning Round: each of us did an impersonation of whoever we were appreciating, everyone guessed, and they got the letter. And it went on very well, despite time constraints.

It's a real great way to remind everyone how much they're worth; a major pick-me-up. Improves morale like nothing else too.
posted by divabat at 12:33 AM on May 14, 2006

Also, you could hold a 24-hour marathon of something. Team up with the Blogathon and have everyone mass-blog for 24 hours, or hold a 24-hour concert, 24-hour dance (I remember reading a story about a uni that did this for kids with terminal illnesses), 24-hour party, anything. Use that as a charity fundraiser.

Global Vision also organizes famines (everyone fasts for a certain amount of time - don't remember how long but it was between 24 - 48 hours) to raise awareness and funds for world hunger. They often work with schools, so you could contact them.

I was the Secretary of the PR Club in uni - we never really did anything but we had quite a number of ideas. Give me a while (I have to go offline now) and I'll get you some.
posted by divabat at 12:36 AM on May 14, 2006

One of the most satisfying social events I participated in high school involved helping the community after devastating bush fires. One of the most fun ways to do this is to get people to collect sponsorship for shaving their head. It's a brave and challenging thing (particularly for girls) and lots of fun and people just really get involved and share in the feel-good moments.

Dance is good. Food is excellent - what about multicultural feasts and music celebrations?

Games nights? Twister, monopoly, clue - round robyn competitions?

Pyjama parties? Campfire nights (with stories), singing round the fire, that sort of thing?

Don't forget to check the calendar for everything you can celebrate - Saints Days (if culturally appropriate), Hallmark events, National Tree Day etc.

Let us know how you go.
posted by b33j at 1:11 AM on May 14, 2006

I was a resident assistant in college, so I had to organize and plan events like this too.

We had this great week-long thing called "Battle of the Buildings" where all 5 of our apartment buildings competed against one another in everything from straight-up tug-of-war to a campus-wide scavenger hunt, an "Iron Chef" type event, Jeopardy, etc. Lots of different skill sets were the key - some things the gamers could get into, others (the lip-sync contest) the theater kids, others (a simple softball tournament) the athletes. It was always great - and the winning building got to hang a neat vinyl banner proclaiming its victory over the other buildings for the entire next year!

Everyone got in on the planning and it took a few weeks to get everything together, but for people who lived in apartments as we did and didn't really have lots of activities together, it was fantastic.

Two things I thought helped get lots of people to come (no idea how, um, compulsory these events would be) were:

1. Creativity. The dive-in movie, I think, would get way, way more people than the drive-in movie, just because it seems like a really original idea. (If you're being elected by your peers, perhaps a photo of you on the ballot with a snorkel will tip the balance in a close race?)

2. A lack of dependence on high attendance to make a cool event. Sometimes you need a hundred people to make an event work or seem successful (like a dance, perhaps), but many, many things only require ten or fifteen. You don't mention how big your school is, but lots of little events on "school nights" might make people feel more at home - they can squeeze in an hour after classes end or on a Sunday night if they can't dedicate a whole day or weekend.

A few other ideas:

Cooking classes, maybe with more exotic cuisines (Thai's a favorite) - if you're in a communal dining situation, the chance to fiddle in a kitchen might be great for a change;

Video game championships/tournaments, especially with group games (Mario Kart was a favorite);

Days out to a local farm to pick one's own berries or fruit;

Informal potluck dinners (again, don't know about your kitchen situation).

Good luck!
posted by mdonley at 1:51 AM on May 14, 2006

More ideas:
(turns out I deleted the original info, so this is from memory)

* Community service - always good. Our secondary school used to have fairs to raise funds for disabled children, but you could also do the actual volunteer work.

* Open Mics - share your talent!

* Pot lucks - fun if you have themes

* Costume & character days (All Red Day, Talk Like A Pirate Day, etc)

* Student Film/Art/Music/Writing Festivals

* Poetry Slams

* Murder Mysteries, or some other school-wide mystery thing

* Treasure hunts (SO MUCH FUN)

* International Fairs - have people set up booths representing a different country

* Historical Parties - come as a moment/person in history

* An Olympics-like event, but make the games unusual. Solo Syncronized Swimming, maybe (dancing in water). Or other random sports.

* Auctions

* Jumble sales

* Photo Day - find some people skilled in makeup, styling, photography, etc, set up a photo booth, take photos of people

Keep us updated!
posted by divabat at 1:56 AM on May 14, 2006

I work in college student housing and here is a link the RAs use to plan programs, some of them might be helpful for you:

res life ideas

One thing we're doing this week is having a Toga party-we raised 2k to help a local girl affiliated with Dreams Come True. She's going to Italy and Greece as her dream and our 2k is her spending money. The toga party is for her (she doesn't have a clue we have that much money) and the students-she'll be presented with the check along with her toga and other paraphernalia. We're having a Greek band and food.

We have fashion shows every season, Taco Tuesday or Weiner Wednesday a couple times a month (we feed them a lot) midnight breakfasts during exam weeks.

Right now a couple RAs are putting together a "Deal or No Deal" game as well as a ping pong tournament.

I really do like the Drive In and Dive In movie ideas-mind if I pass those on to my RAs?
posted by hollygoheavy at 4:58 AM on May 14, 2006

Another idea:

Auction people off. Get your "auctionees" to come up with something marketable about themselves - "buy me and I'll be your Tech Support for the whole day", "buy me and I'll fix your car", and so on. Whoever wins the auction gets that person for the whole day.
posted by divabat at 5:09 AM on May 14, 2006

Things with animals are always fun. Hayrides, horseback riding overnight trips (extreme of that would be one in other countries like Romania and Portugal), working with rescue animals, guide dog training.

Other fun trips: ski trips, camping and (snow) camping trips, rescue skill trips and rock climbing trips.
posted by zia at 8:14 AM on May 14, 2006

involves a projector and a pool

Not the best mix. If you want the screen set up on the edge of the pool, you'll need a long-throw lense for the projector.
posted by bjork24 at 9:16 AM on May 14, 2006

One of the most fun ways to do this is to get people to collect sponsorship for shaving their head. It's a brave and challenging thing (particularly for girls)

If they ponytail that long hair before it's cut, it can be used to make wigs for kids with cancer or alopecia. Makes your fundraiser a dual benefit: money for a cause, plus hair for sick kids.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:21 AM on May 14, 2006

Whatever the event, serve food. FOOD IS KEY.

Being that you're a boarding school, you could probably even charge for food and people would pay for it in order to avoid eating in the dining hall. (This worked for my class in boarding school - we sold pizza at lunch and made a shit ton of money and threw a kickass prom.)

Even if you're not selling it, food of any kind will draw a crowd. Everyone's a sucker for snacks.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:40 PM on May 14, 2006

My freshman dorm did one of those "Assassins" type games, that could be fun.

Also, in high school, in the winter, we had a Hawaiian-themed dance. All the girls brought out their tank tops and flip-flops and sundresses and all that. People passed out plastic leis at the door (we called it, of course, the Get Lei'd dance). You could take this further, with summer barbecue food or whatnot.
posted by anjamu at 3:20 PM on May 14, 2006

Casino night is a good idea. Give every dorm/building or whatever groups of about 10-20 a set starting amount (like 10,000 big boarding school bucks) and have traditional gambling tables set up, with school specific additions like trivia. Then have certain prizes each group can buy with their fake dollars, such as being able to pick 10 songs at the next dance or being able to skip one class or something. If teachers were willing, you could have the most expensive prize be something like pie your favorite teacher.

Another good one is a lock in, a giant school wide sleepover in the gym or auditorium. This might be hard to get the administration to approve, but my high school has managed to pull it off (the general rule is that you are the only one in your sleeping bag.)

Also, themed dances or series of dances (ie traveling through time, start with the 1800s go to the 70s then the future) with costume contests and themed music are nice.
posted by Suparnova at 6:54 PM on May 14, 2006

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