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Hilites Club Reflects on Successful Fundraiser

The Hilites tradition has gone through several significant changes, but the core values remain.
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Photo courtesy of Hilites Club
Hilites Club poses in their group costume, gods and goddesses, outside of the school. Club members have worked tirelessly to organize all aspects of the dance. “We’ve grown so close together and now we’re so comfortable around each other,” social upstairs Amelia Bollman said. “We have the best time and that’s honestly why I joined.”

Flashing lights, unique costumes, and loud music fill the air as students walk into the transformed gym for the annual Hilites dance.

The dance was made possible by the Hilites Club, a team of 16 senior girls led by president Ellie Williams.

Williams was selected for this exclusive position based solely on the opinions of girls who were officers the year prior. She is in possession of a hefty binder passed from president to president, filled with any information she may need while planning.
Williams regularly flipped through her binder, looking for inspiration for this year’s theme.

“Themes were all pretty much recycled,” Williams said. “The current theme, “Anything But A Human,” was a theme six years ago.”

As president, she often has to make some of the decisions no one else wants to. After the administration decided to have only one Hilites dance instead of two, Williams had to find a way to compensate for lost money.

“To fund the dances we sold “Beat Jesuit” shirts and had to [raise] the membership price just a little bit,” Williams said.

Williams also decided to shorten the dance by thirty minutes, hoping to cut costs on expenditures such as a DJ.

But no matter how many changes are made to the dance, its vital purpose is to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“For most school dances you just go and don’t know where your money goes whenever you buy your ticket,” Williams said.

But Hilites is different. After raising money through the dance and membership fees, the club presents the money in the form of a large check at the last pep rally of the year. This money allows a kid from the Make-A-Wish foundation to go on a trip of their choice.

Secretary Landry Saylor has spent every spare moment she has in the past month preparing for one of the most crucial parts of the Hilites dance.

“December is when we start the process to figure out who the Hilites King would be,” she said.

The nomination process starts with 16 guys on the ballot, soon narrowed down to just five or six.

“There are 16 people in the Hilites Club and each of us has a date,” Saylor said. “The dates are the people that get to be a potential nominee.”

Due to the conflict of interest, selecting the final nominees each year is left in the hands of juniors who want to be in the Hilites senior committee next year.

“Girls have to vote on who’s their favorite nominee so that the nominees can get points,” Saylor said. “They get six votes out of the 16, and people with the most votes end up becoming final candidates.”

A Google form with the final candidates is then sent out to the rest of the school to be voted on when they purchase Hilites tickets. One of the annual Hilites traditions has to do with the voting process. If two candidates have the same name, they are grouped together as one nominee on the form. This way, if one person wins, they both get the title of Hilites King.

“Each year it’s something different. A couple of years ago it was the Corwins, the Charlies, the Jacks, and this year it’s the Hudsons,” Saylor said.

On top of their responsibilities of coordinating and executing the dance, officers are responsible for hand-making all the decorations.

“Every day after school from 3:30 p.m. to sometimes like 6:30 or 7:00 p.m., we stay late, paint and just set up everything,” Saylor said.

Social upstairs Amelia Bollman is single-handedly responsible for the banner hanging from the mezzanine that is seen when walking into the dance.

“It’s a good opportunity to just get to hang out and it’s so relaxing to me,” Bollman said. “Being crafty is kind of my thing.”

Bollman starts by measuring the mezzanine and creating a small-scale example of her final design.

“I went a little bit simpler with the design, but I think that it looked really good when it’s up,” Bollman said. “It tests your math abilities, to be honest. You have to measure out the lettering height, and most importantly, make sure they’re centered.”

Hilites has been a tradition for decades, and each year, officers stick to a specific itinerary, making small tweaks when necessary.

“Every year the creativity gets better and better,” Bollman said. “It’s been the same things that have been tradition in the past, but it’s just better every year.”

Compared to other dances, Hilites is a time when all students get to express themselves however they please due to the creative themes.

“I’ve heard some people are being chess pieces, Fortnite characters,” Bollman said. “I’m excited to see how creative people get with such a weird and spunky theme.”

The Hilites club extends far beyond the dance. Since their time in the club, officers have formed their own makeshift family.

“We’ve grown so close together and now we’re so comfortable around each other,” Bollman said. “We have the best time and that’s honestly why I joined. It’s just such an impactful club.”

About the Contributor
Rohan Portteus, Reporter
Who are your favorite music artists?  Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple, Fleetwood Mac Where's the next place on your travel bucket list and why?  Thailand to visit the elephant rehab centers. What causes are you passionate about? Gender inequalities.