Students at an Auckland school are fuming they have to ‘uninvite’ partners to the upcoming ball because of number restrictions at the venue.
Western Springs College Year 12 and 13 students planning to take partners from outside the school will have to go solo with a record number at school wanting to attend.
The chosen venue of the Guineas Rooms at the Ellerslie Events Centre can only host 500 students and it’s understood 506 from the school have confirmed they will be attending.
One Year 13 student spoken to by the Herald said was “really upset” she had to tell her boyfriend of a year he was no longer able to attend the event on 27 May.
“It’s really sad because it’s our final year and we had everything planned with our friend group.
“Other schools plan it so it’s just a year 13 thing or they have it combined but with a bigger venue so everyone can go with no problems.”
In a newsletter in early April, students were told priority would go to Year 13 and Year 12 students enrolled at the school first.
“After the deadline ( Friday 5th May 2023) we will start processing Y13 ball partners and if there is space, Y12 ball partners.” the newsletter stated.
The girl said the deadline of 5 May was too late.
“We started making plans and have outfits sorted already so it’s really late to say ‘sorry you can’t come’.
“If we had known earlier at least there’s not so much disappointment and money spent.”
School balls were the social highlight of the five years spent at secondary school and students could spend upward of $500 buying or hiring dresses and getting hair and makeup professionally done.
Add to that tickets for the event itself, after-ball party costs and transport and costs escalate.
Local community leader Mark Graham, who has a child at the school, said the issue could have been avoided with better planning.
“They know how many people are at the school in those years and they know from previous years, not including Covid, how many students usually attend.
“They really should have chosen a bigger venue,” he told the Herald.
A post he made on Twitter drew responses from parents of those uninvited to the ball.
“Yep, my daughter was one of the uninvited. Luckily hadn’t sorted her dress. I thought they should make it a U13 ball with partners, plus any Y12s not planning on returning next year maybe?
Another parent suggested splitting the year 12 and 13 cohorts so all students with a partner at another school could still invite them.
“My son said that’s what they’re looking at doing next year. He’s one of the ones who can’t take his girlfriend,” one parent said.
Another parent said the latest disappointment was especially bitter after “a tough few years with Covid.”
“There have been school balls, camps, graduations, and other important ‘rite of passage’ events cancelled in the past few years so this was really important.
“I know it’s hard to find a big enough venue so they should have looked at other solutions earlier in the year.”
Another parent suggested the shortage of good venues was down to the behaviour of students at previous balls.
Last year Eden Park announced it would no longer host school balls following complaints from local residents about disruptive behaviour linked to the events.
The Herald made several calls to Western Springs College principal Ivan Davis but was unable to contact him before publication.
Other schools around New Zealand needed students to invite a partner from outside the school community to meet the numbers to make the night financially viable.
Otago Boy’s High School announced there would be “there are no single ticket sales” this year, only double tickets.
To make sure enough tickets were sold to the event so it was “financially viable” the school’s rector Richard Hall told students to bring a partner from outside of the school.