Santa Fe High School cancels homecoming dance after low ticket sales, disinterest from students

Only about 20 students bought tickets for the homecoming dance. Parents are now discussing plans to organize alternative celebrations.

Santa Fe High School.

Santa Fe Independent School District canceled its 2023 high school homecoming dance Wednesday, citing low ticket sales and disinterest from students.

The cancellation comes after the district reported having strikingly low ticket sales, despite marketing efforts to get students interested. But some parents dispute that and say the district could’ve done more to inform students.

“The primary reason for this cancellation is the need for more student interest in attending the event and the inability to sell enough tickets to cover the associated costs,” Karlee Custer, Santa Fe High School principal said in a statement to parents Wednesday evening. “We want to emphasize that we made every effort to ensure the success of the homecoming dance.”

But by Wednesday night, only four percent of the Santa Fe High School student body had purchased tickets to the dance that would’ve been held Oct. 14. That is about 20 students, James Grassmuck, school board member said.

“If the kids had a desire to have a dance, then we would be having the dance,” Grassmuck said Thursday. “As an adult who had homecoming dances and graduated from Santa Fe, I wish that kids were more interested. I don’t think they are as interested as they were 30 years ago.”

Grassmuck said the school district has more important matters to consider when it comes to money, despite not immediately knowing what cost the school district would bear by holding the homecoming dance.

Students who have already purchased a ticket for the dance will receive a full refund, and other homecoming events will continue as planned, officials said. The tickets were selling for $20 apiece.

A survey was sent out to students last Wednesday to better gauge their opinions of attending a homecoming dance, Jenny Davenport, spokeswoman for the school district said. District officials decided to call off the dance after input from a student advisory committee revealed most students had no plans of attending.

Officials did not say if the school district has plans to cancel future homecoming dances because of disinterest from students.

“It seems like a lot of students didn’t know about the dance and certainly wouldn’t have understood that they had to have their tickets a week and a half before the dance,” Laura Bowen, a district parent said.

She and her daughter went shopping weeks ago to pick out a homecoming dress for her daughter’s first high school dance.

After finding the perfect dress, they bought the shoes and jewelry to match, Bowen said. Now they’re toting costs of dress alterations and accessories that won’t be used anytime soon.

“My daughter is really upset about missing out on this experience she had been looking forward to since a young age,” Bowen said.

Some parents are already discussing plans to organize an alternative celebration for students.

“It might just be a dance in name but it's yet another opportunity for young men to learn how to respectfully treat young ladies and an opportunity for young ladies to learn to demand respect,” Christopher Roth, a school district parent said.