By: Nick Dal Porto
On Saturday night, Design Tech students and their guests from neighboring institutions convened on a short offshoot of Leidesdorff Street. Making their second pilgrimage to the expanses of San Francisco, attendees gathered outside the Merchant’s Exchange Club, dressed to the teeth and dwarfed by the massive buildings that surrounded them on all sides. In stark contrast to the previous year, the prom was held on a significantly more stable foundation, rather than a mobile yacht cruising the Bay.
While waiting for the doors to open, some students were briefly asked about their initial thoughts. Senior David Boles, harkening back to last year’s prom, said that he “hopes there are board games” to keep himself and his peers entertained. Joseph Nguyen, senior, was mistakenly let in early, but said. “It looks really nice. I’d definitely say it was worth the money for a ticket.” Doors opened about twenty minutes later than scheduled, much to the now increasingly irate group of student’s satisfaction. Entering the venue it was clear that it had that “Old San Francisco” charm, with marble clad staircases, murals.
At first glance the venue seemed small, but upscale. It was split in two rooms – the smaller was well lit, with tables and small food items lining the walls. Through the walkway and down the stairs was the dancefloor, quite dark and prominently featuring the DJ in the center of the room, who would prove to be a contentious point throughout the night. As the same person that provided entertainment at the spring formal, he was well-liked after the event and was hired again for prom. However, he seemed to go off the rails at the Merchant’s Exchange Club. Initially causing concern were his music and remarks. Songs appeared to be selectively censored, with some clearly being blocked out and others blared increasingly profane language, drawing the ire from students and staff alike. His mixing was marred by occasional inappropriate commentary. During one such rendition of dance favorite “Cupid Shuffle”, students seemed confused on the dance floor, causing the DJ to remark “You guys are all going the wrong direction, like crazy Asian drivers!”
Perhaps the most notable and hence notorious moment of the DJ’s inappropriate behavior came about halfway through the event. Noticing senior Nic Garland towards the front of the dance floor, the DJ had other students bring a chair to him. As students clamored around the chair, the DJ called out on his public address, describing Garland and instructing him to sit in the chair. He then attempted to solicit lap dances from female students, saying Garland had “itchy hips”. When nobody obliged, senior Tim Gonzales attempted to diffuse the situation with a comedic striptease routine, which at least caused the DJ’s calls for lap dancing to cease. Remarking on the situation, Garland said,“I hated it, but felt there was no way out.” Though staff were unable to see and stop what was happening, after hearing of the DJ’s behavior Dr. Little made a statement that “he will not be back in the future.”
While some students stayed in the dining room and played cards, a wide majority went and hit the dance floor. One particular note was the volume level. At a solid 85 decibels and peaking to above 90 (yes, I measured it on my phone), you might as well have been dancing your hearing away. Bryce Theroff, a senior at Half Moon Bay High School, remarked “The [d.tech] prom was pretty good. It was really loud though. I’m pretty sure my hearing was damaged.” Senior David Boles quipped: “Is it really a prom if you’re not permanently losing your hearing?” Another gripe was with the restrooms, which had to be relocated to the 11th floor after sewage problems rendered the basement ones inoperative.
Despite the imperfections, the resultant product was well-received. A quick exit poll from attending students included rave reviews from most involved. Juniors Bret DuBois and Anya Karanov said the event was a solid 8 out of 10, with DuBois even saying that he thought the DJ was “really great”. Junior Matthew Silverman rated the event a 9, while senior Adan Salazar gave it an 8. Almost everyone polled gave the event a number in the higher end of the spectrum. All told this seems to be a marked improvement over last year’s event, where students reflecting afterwards seemed rather displeased with how things were conducted. All told, d.Leadership fulfilled its goal of creating a exciting and memorable experience that students will carry with them for many years.